New and expanded programs to fight heroin epidemic in Hamilton County
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - $400,000 may seem like a drop in the bucket, but it's a targeted drop in an effort to help those who are hooked on heroin.
The reality is grim. Through August, the city of Cincinnati has seen more overdoses and overdose deaths than it did all of last year.
On Tuesday, city and county leaders announced more money for new or expanded programs, like more capacity for the “Addiction Services Telephone Help Line.”
“Our 24-hour help line is just that. our commitment is that no call goes to voice mail, and you will always get a live, professional, and competent professional on the other end,” said Nan Franks of the Addiction Services Helpline.
Also in for expansion: “QRTs” or “Quick Response Teams.”
Those teams follow-up police or fire overdose runs by trying to get victims into treatment. The Colerain township QRT has an 80 percent success rate of at least getting people into some sort of program.
“We're looking into a way of doing a county-wide QRT. we have them in Colerain, Norwood, and Price Hill, all of which are hot spots. but we have other hot spot that are popping up in the county. so we need a more nimble QRT to move around the county and go into the hot spots as they pop up,” said Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus.
Other dollars are for community Narcan training and a full-time staff member for the county heroin coalition, among other programs.
“If we do not get this right, no one will be immune from the damage of this opioid crisis,” said Cincinnati City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld.
According to Talbert House, the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility, more Americans died last year from opioid abuse (52,000) than in the Vietnam War.
Of course, that war lasted a lot of years, but it's still a pretty grim statistic that shows the severity of the opioid epidemic.
If you know someone who needs help, the numbers for the 24-hour Addiction Services Hotline are as follows:
In Ohio: (513) 281-7880
In Kentucky: (859) 415-9280