Summit County says its new program to reach out to people within days of an overdose is getting increasing support from cities within the county.
Since December, the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board has seen several cities create quick response teams consisting of a police officer, paramedic and counselor who will reach out to people within three to five days of an overdose.
Along with working with families, ADM Board Executive Director Jerry Craig says the response teams will try to get victims into treatment, and follow-up to ensure they get to their counseling appointments.
“The teams that are going out to people’s homes are being accepted warmly by the community. Sometimes the people that we’re reaching out to will say, ‘we waited for you because we knew you’d be here.’ In many ways, it’s been a really positive thing in many of our communities.”
Craig adds that the response team idea comes from Colerain Township in southern Ohio, which saw a 30 percent reduction in overdoses and an 80 percent success rate in getting people into treatment once the quick response teams were in place.
“If we could get those kinds of results here in Summit County, I think that would be really good. Now, we’re looking at Akron and Stow going on board next month. And if they come on board, then we’ll have a substantial amount of our community, population-wise, involved. The plan is for us to try to connect with as many communities as will be willing to participate. We’ve not pushed this on any communities; each of these communities has come to us.”
Craig says the additions of Stow and Akron will mean that response teams would be covering about 80 percent of the areas where overdoses occurred in 2016.