State announces funding for drug epidemic


By Nikki Blankenship - nblankenship@aimmediamidwest.com



Three million dollars in grants is being awarded to help communities hit by the opioid epidemic will be available July 19.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine joined Ohio Senator Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green), Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp, Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates, Colerain Township Administrator Daniel Meloy, and Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Jack Davis earlier this month to announce details regarding $3 million in grants that will be used to help replicate or expand Drug Abuse Response Teams (DARTs) and Quick Response Teams (QRTs) to address the opioid epidemic in Ohio. The grant funding will support efforts similar to the QRTs in Colerain Township (Hamilton County) and Summit County, as well as the DART in Lucas County.

“People who survive an overdose need support to overcome addiction, and the DART and QRT teams that are already at work in Ohio have been successful in helping many people move toward long-term recovery,” said Attorney General DeWine. “We have to come together as a state to fight addiction, and with these new grants, we can help even more Ohioans.”

Drug Abuse Response Teams and Quick Response Teams are made up of law enforcement officers partnering with drug treatment providers and others who assist overdose survivors in the recovery process. Team members visit survivors after an overdose and offer counseling and referrals to drug rehabilitation facilities for assessment, detoxification, on-going drug treatment, and aftercare. These teams work to reduce overdose-related deaths, reduce repeated overdoses per victim, and increase the support network for survivors and their families.

The $3 million in new grant funding, to be administered by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, is part of the state budget, already signed into law. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office will begin accepting grant applications July 19 from qualified county partnerships. At minimum, partnerships within a county shall include a local police department or county sheriff’s office and a treatment provider. It is strongly encouraged that applicants include other partners, such as fire department personnel, emergency management employees, faith-based leaders, and children’s services organizations.

“DART has been a valuable program in the fight against drug addiction in Lucas County,” said Senator Randy Gardner, who sponsored the budget amendment that secured the grant funds. “I sponsored the DART budget amendment because it makes sense to encourage other communities in Ohio to utilize the DART concept in this important cause.”

“Since establishing our DART team in 2014, we have assisted nearly 2,300 overdose survivors and have had a 74 percent success rate in getting survivors into detox and linked to treatment programs,” said Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp. “Our program and others like it have made a difference in Ohio, and I’m happy that these new grants will allow others to bring similar programs to their communities to help save lives.”

Colerain Township in Hamilton County estimates that their Quick Response Team has conducted 250 investigations with nearly 80 percent of the overdose survivors they have encountered entering treatment. Summit County’s QRTs are based on the Colerain Township model and are now operating in Cuyahoga Falls, Green, Barberton, Norton, Tallmadge, Stow, Munroe Falls, Akron, Coventry, and Hudson.

The application process for this grant program can be found on the Ohio Attorney General’s website at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov on July 19, 2017.

By Nikki Blankenship

nblankenship@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.