Team reaches out to addicts after OD

Team reaches out to addicts after OD (WKRC)

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKRC) - Calls for heroin overdoses were all-too familiar to paramedics in Colerain Twp.

More than a year ago, the police department started the Quick Response Team. Police officers and addiction specialists go door-to-door to try to offer help to people who've overdosed.

"Our number of overdoses has risen by a lot," said Colerain Twp. Officer Roger Mitchell. "We're not just police here just to arrest. We also, we want to help. Usually when we go on the scene the last thing we want to do is arrest them. We want to get them help."

Officer Mitchell met with a man Wednesday afternoon, August 24, immediately following his brush with death. Mitchell and others drive to overdose victims' homes once a week to discuss options for getting into rehab.

"Their reaction to somebody caring about them and somebody who's really willing to help them get help is overwhelmingly positive," said Nan Franks who heads the Addiction Services Council and is part of the QRT.

Franks said the team has helped between 60 and 65 people get into treatment since its inception. Many of them have stayed clean. Franks said the last 36 hours in Cincinnati, with so many people overdosing, has been frightening and disheartening.

"Today our message to people is not to give up, to keep reaching out. If they contact us we'll do anything we can," Franks said.

Getting into treatment can be difficult. The Quick Response Team helps people navigate the complex maze of treatment options and the medical insurance questions that often come with getting help. Team members said they want to do whatever they can to get addicts into treatment.

"We met with a gentleman today that came back just to show support and say, 'Hey, it's been six months and I'm still going strong.' It's kind of cool to see him stop by and look completely different," said Officer Mitchell, describing someone the team helped.

Norwood recently started a program modeled after Colerain's.

The Addiction Services Council has a 24-hour helpline. The number is 513.281.7880.

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