Grant helps Middletown take on opioid epidemic

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- A man was recovering at Atrium Medical Center from a suspected overdose after he and a woman's body were found "dumped" behind a closed restaurant Saturday. 

Monday morning, Middletown leaders and Atrium announced the city and hospital received a $60,000 grant which will help them combat the opioid epidemic and hopefully put an end to incidents like the people being dumped. The money will help fund their Quick Response Team for another two years.

"This is huge for us," said Middletown City Manager Doug Atkins. "It's a chance to continue the work we've been doing."

The organization InterAct For Change and the group Funders' Response to the Heroin Epidemic are giving the grant to fund the team and to help efforts at Atrium to combat the opioid problem. Middletown's QRT will also collaborate with others in the region to share information and lessons learned.

The QRT consists of of a paramedic, a police officer and a social worker. It follows up with people who overdose. It's just one aspect of the Middletown community's response to the opioid epidemic. Schools, churches, addiction services, government leaders, first responders and residents have all been involved in various ways. 

RELATED: Overdoses down dramatically in Middletown

Atkins said the number of overdoses in Middletown has gone down since the QRT was started. Overdoses are down 54 percent from last year, he said. 

"To date we've had over 200 people, 250 people referred to treatment, and it's been a very successful part of the deal that we've been working on for all of our partners," he said. 

QRT advocates are hopeful the new money will continue to help their efforts and make cases like Saturday's "dumped" bodies even more of a rarity. 

WCPO news partner the Journal-News reported that the man had regained consciousness and police interviewed him. He's expected to make a full recovery. 

Police identified the woman as 24-year-old Destiny Williams. She was pronounced dead at the scene, the Journal-News reported.

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