$1.5 million grant to help fight opioid epidemic

$1.5 million grant to help fight opioid epidemic (WKRC)

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKRC) - The opioid epidemic continues to take lives every day.

The overwhelming plague baffles government, healthcare and law enforcement agencies, but they are fighting it with every tool available and a new tool could make a significant difference.

Middletown Fire and Police have responded to nearly 3,000 overdoses in the last two years. 151 died.

Their Heroin Quick Response Teams are making headway getting addicts into treatment, but the sheer numbers are overwhelming.

“People are always going to slip through the system when you don't have correct ways of keeping track of them. There's just so many people out there struggling with addiction that there's no possible way to keep track of them all,” said Middletown Heroin Helpline Care Coordinator Lindsey Ervin.

But now, a $1.5 million grant to start-up Cordata Health Care Innovations, University of Cincinnati and Interact for Health is making a difference.

The Cordata platform was designed to coordinate treatment for people with spine injuries. It's been tweaked to help the quick response teams.

“In the flurry of activity, you will have a day where there are a lot of overdoses so they are dealing with a lot more people and a lot of chaos so this keeps it all straight. The system will keep reminding them, ‘you need to get in touch with this person.’ It's been five days since the overdose and that kind of information,” said Jon Stonis of Cordata Healthcare Innovations.

The Cordata Go App allows for instant referrals from other agencies.

During Lindsey Ervin's interview, Middletown got an addict referred by a senior citizen's organization. The system went live in December.

“Already since we started doing it, it's helped our engagement with clients just because we've got reminders that we have appointments. We have a system that is allowing us to do our job better,” said Middletown Fire Captain David Von Bargen.

Middletown has 173 clients in the new system.

Managing clients is just part of what's going on here. The data that's collected will be analyzed by UC's Institute for Crime Science.

The names, dates, locations and all the numbers will be crunched to locate hot spots for addiction and trends. It may give teams a chance to interact with addicts before they overdose.

“We don't actually know what the best practices are in opioid response right now. This gives us a chance to get a treasure trove of data and get some of the best academic minds that we have in this entire region. Take a look at this, identify what works and lets immediately roll out those best practices to those areas and try to save some lives on the streets. Because we have people that are dying every single day here and we need to do something,” said Dan Gerard of the UC Institute of Crime Science.

Law enforcement, first responders and the quick response teams are doing a lot, but now they have a new tool in the toolbox. A tool that will help them keep in touch with those who need help.

Local 12 news has joined other Ohio media outlets to highlight solutions making a difference in the opioid crisis like the 'Cordatta Go App'.

The “Your Voice Ohio Project” also involves community meetings including one next week in Cincinnati.

It's important to know you have to register online if you want to attend the meeting next Monday February 12th at the Madisonville Recreation Center.

You can follow this link to find out how to register for that meeting.

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