CINCINNATI — Overdose deaths among African American men have increased by nearly 17% this year, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Several organizations in Hamilton County, including the Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program or UMADAOP, are collaborating to attack the problem.
State officials are predicting the number of African Americans in Ohio dying from overdoses will continue to increase this year.
Total deaths in 2020 were 850, and it's estimated the state will have 952 deaths this year.
The rate of death for Black men is higher, too, at 74.5 per 100,000 as compared to 58 per 100,000 for white men.
UMADAOP has identified nine areas in Cincinnati as hot spots — areas where fatal overdoses are taking place in specific neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods are being targeted with resources and outreach in an effort to get people using drugs into treatment before it's too late.
The place where Black people are dying the most from overdoses: 45206, East Walnut Hills. On Thursday, Hamilton County leaders and UMADAOP announced an expansion of their quick response team to the tune of $800,000.
UMADAOP started its hot spot outreach last year. In East Walnut Hills, the team has been walking the neighborhood for the last week, talking to people. It's a team that includes Kameka Lewis, who brings the struggles of her family to the job.
"My sister is in recovery. My grandfather was an alcoholic. My grandmother dealt with substance abuse," Lewis said.
"A lot of times (the people we talk to are) still in denial about it," Scott Robinson said. "They're not ready. So what Kameka does she leaves her card with them and explain to them, we're here to help you. What can we do to help you. Call. Whatever you need. We'll come back and talk to."
Along with offering resources, the team is also equipped to respond to someone dealing with an active overdose.