Hamilton County will launch a heroin response team to provide treatment to addicts

Colerain Twp. and Norwood have similar programs
Posted at 3:44 PM, Aug 25, 2016

CINCINNATI -- In the wake of a dramatic increase in heroin overdoses, Hamilton County will launch a new heroin response team to provide treatment to addicts, rather than immediate punishment.

Hamilton County Commissioner Dennis Deters announced the launch of the response team during a news conference Thursday. During said conference, Heroin Task Force head Tom Synan said Hamilton County has seen 80 overdoses with three fatalities this week.

"We can't arrest this problem away," Deters said.

Deters said the Hamilton County response team will be modeled,in part, after Colerain Township's successful year-old heroin quick response team.

"Colerain has seen significant success. Overdoses are down by 35 percent since this team was launched," said Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan, head of the Hamilton County Heroin Task Force. "The decreases they've seen -- it's a shining star in all of this."

READ MORE: This is 'a shining star' in heroin epidemic

While treatment is half of the battle,  Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco talked about prevention. She is preaching education to those who are raising the next generation of youngsters. Sammarco says it's important for adults to talk to kids about drugs.

 "Not just the parents," Sammarco said, "because kids are going to ignore their parents -- 'Oh yeah, it's just mom and dad saying what they usually do.'"

She encouraged "teachers, coaches, religious leaders in these communities, their friends' parents" to engage kids in conversation.