Lorain County’s quick response opioid team, a network of clinicians and law enforcement that work together to get overdose victims into recovery, received a financial boost as a part of a distribution of $26 million in funding through the 21st Century CURES law to fight the opioid epidemic.
The share to Lorain County is $393,896.
This is the second year in a row Ohio has received $26 million in federal funding to divide among its 88 counties.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman,R-Cincinnati, said the funding is good news for Ohio as the state continues its efforts to combat the heroin and prescription drug epidemic gripping the state.
“I have seen firsthand how this law is making a difference across our state,” he said in a statement. “This is another positive step forward, but we must do more, and that’s why I continue to push for common-sense solutions like the STOP Act and CARA 2.0 that will help us turn the tide of addiction in Ohio and around the country.”
Elaine Georgas, executive director of the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County, said most of the funding will continue efforts to expand the county’s quick response opioid team.
The team’s approach is to immediately go to an overdose victim after his or her life is saved and try to get that person into treatment during that critical window.
Efforts started last year with the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office. Other law enforcement agencies including the Avon Lake Police Department, Elyria Police Department and Lorain Police Department are either on board or moving quickly to be part of the work.
“Officers and clinicians go out as a team,” Georgas said. “Officers often have a relationship with the survivors from prior interactions and the clinicians can immediately start making contact with treatment facilities in the area like The LCADA Way and Firelands (Counseling and Recovery Services.)”
The quick response approach is taking hold in communities across Ohio as a way to get more people into treatment.
“What we have found, even from our data, is that one visit may not do it,” Georgas said. “But it plants a seed. Maybe in a week or two they are ready. We keep in contact for at least a month. Sometimes it’s as simple as letting them know someone is happy their life was saved and help is available.”