Dayton Police Major Joe Wiesman talks about a Department of Justice grant that will help expand the city’s GROW Team, which responds to drug overdoses and works to connect individuals with treatment. KATIE WEDELL/STAFF
Photo: Katie Wedell
Photo: Katie Wedell

County’s opioid prevention efforts get $1.5M to combat overdoses

The Montgomery County Community Overdose Action Team has secured $1.5 million in federal Department of Justice grants to continue the local fight against drug overdose deaths.

One grant totalling $1 million over three years will fund the county’s 360 Addiction Database Project, which will use data to better target early interventions.

Another $495,000 grant will help the City of Dayton expand its GROW Team initiative, which sends a police officer, an emergency medical technician and a peer supporter to provide treatment information to people who have recently overdosed.

RELATED: Can Dayton go from ‘overdose’ capital to a model for recovery?

In announcing the new money, Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley said the collaborative efforts of the more than 100 agencies in the COAT have received national attention and brought needed resources t0 the community.

Since the inception of the COAT in 2016, local agencies have been received more than $11 million to fight the opioid epidemic, he said.

“We still have too many people dying and there’s still more work to be done,” Dayton and Montgomery County Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper said.

To date, Dayton’s GROW Team has made contact with 557 individuals who had recently overdosed, providing them with information, Narcan training and contacts they can use when they are ready for help, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said. Of that group, 133 entered treatment, she said.

RELATED: We’re making a difference’: A day with Dayton’s overdose response team

The city’s GROW Team consists of Dayton Police Officer Jason Olson and Dayton Fire Emergency Medical Technician Amy Dunkin. Added to the team last year were peer supporters — individuals who are in recovery and can best relate to those struggling with addiction.

The $495,000 grant will allow the city to certify more peer supporters, said Jan Lepore-Jentleson, executive director of East End Community Services, which is a partner on the grant.

The data project brings together the public health department, Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services, the Greater Dayton Hospital Association, the county coroner’s office, sheriff’s department and the health data company Ascend Innovations.

RELATED: ‘A whole new life:’ Local people share their path out of addiction and into long-term recovery

The goal is to integrate data sets to make the information more widely available.

“Each agency has different data sets,” said Barbara Marsh, assistant to the health commissioner. “Right now we can tell you how many people have been hospitalized for an overdose, but we can’t tell you how many of those people have also been in the criminal justice system… or accessed treatment.”

Ascend, which already has access to regional health data, will develop an integrated data set that will give the agencies in COAT a comprehensive view of the addicted community in Montgomery County, Marsh said.

HOW TO GET HELP: An opioid addiction resource guide

READ MORE: The Path Forward: Addiction in Dayton

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