Hamilton police get proactive in helping people battle opioid addiction

HAMILTON, Ohio -- The evidence of opioid addiction in Hamilton mounted and the humans behind the crisis inspired one police officer and EMS coordinator to create a program to help strike out drug addiction.

Jennifer Mason, EMS coordinator for Kettering Health Network, and Hamilton Police Officer Brian Wynn are the founders of Fort Hamilton Hospital’s Opiate Recovery Taskforce, a program aimed at reducing the number of drug-related deaths by visiting those who have recently overdosed.

RELATED: Butler Co. hospital launches home visits for recent overdose patients

Opioid addiction became personal for Mason when her son overdosed.

“When my son first overdosed, I didn’t know where to turn,” she said.

After the incident, Mason printed up a booklet of resources and gave them to people she came across in the hospital.

“The addict is so absorbed into their addiction they aren’t watching the news, they aren’t reading the paper,” Mason said. “And this puts the resources right in their hand from the first responders who have an interest.”

Wynn is one of those first responders who visit the homes of addicts after the trauma of overdosing is over.

“When we reach out to people they’re actually surprised that the police are taking that stance that we actually want to help them get into recovery,” Wynn said.

RELATED: Heroin scourge changes role of police in hard-hit areas   

According to Wynn, not every addict is ready for recovery, but the continued support is making a difference.

“We had somebody go in the program, and I was able to get them in finally, and she told me it was basically because every time I saw her I stopped and talked to her,” Wynn said. “She’s thanking me now that she’s in the program and she’s doing well.”

The F.O.R.T program received some good news that The I Love You More Than You Know Project, a non-profit dedicated to fight drug addiction, will host its annual charity softball tournament in Hamilton on July 15 and donate the proceeds to the program.

Those interested in participating in the tournament can get more info here.

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