CINCINNATI — A new grant from the state of Ohio will allow the Hamilton County Heroin Task Force to help a lot more people.
The reality for members of the Hamilton County Heroin Task Force’s Quick Response Team is that they lose people. However, now that this specialized team is expanding thanks to $230,000 in state funding, they hope to be able to save more lives.
“Expanding the funding means that we can get there every single day, and that’s amazing,” Addiction Services Council president and CEO Lisa Mertz said.
Right now, the Quick Response Team goes into the community twice a week, tracking down people who have recently overdosed and connecting them with treatment.
“I believe that more people are going to get access to the care they need because of this expansion,” said Adam Webb, mobile engagement supervisor at Addiction Services Council.
A sheriff’s deputy or police officer teams up with an addiction professional like Webb.
“We’ll go to somebody’s house three times,” he said. “They say, ‘No.’ But then we call them, check in on them. They will change their mind eventually. A lot of people do.”
Task force commander Tom Fallon oversees the QRT.
“One by one, one person at a time, making a difference in people’s lives,” he said.
The new influx of funding means the program can move from a part-time initiative to a full-time effort with two teams.
“We’re going to try and go after the problem instead of reacting to a problem,” Fallon said. “We’re going to have people out there to offer help to people, to connect them to treatment, to get Narcan on the street and some of those other things.”
The task force is also using the new funding and some federal dollars to add a data analyst who will help pinpoint struggling neighborhoods day by day to help focus recovery efforts in the places that need it the most.