New money aimed at giving local police more tools for opioid fight

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded a $125,000 grant to help fight the opioid crisis through a quick response team approach.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Wednesday, announced that 40 agencies will receive a total of $3 million to replicate or expand Drug Abuse Response Teams (DARTs) and/or Quick Response Teams (QRTs).

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These types of teams are generally made up of law enforcement officers, drug treatment providers and others who assist overdose survivors in the recovery process. The teams visit survivors immediately after an overdose and offer counseling and referrals to drug rehabilitation facilities for assessment, detoxification, on-going drug treatment, and aftercare.

The goal is to reduce overdose deaths, reduce repeated overdoses per victim, and increase the support network for survivors and their families.

Montgomery County’s team is called Getting Recovery Options Working (GROW).

“When we have an overdose we go to the location, typically someone’s house, with a team of folks,” Sheriff Phil Plummer said.

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The team is comprised of deputies, medics, social workers and clergy members. They give the family and the addict information on what services are available.

“The goal is to combat this one body at a time,” Plummer said. “You show them that people care about them, and get them into some sort of treatment program.”

Teams in Montgomery County have knocked on more than 1,000 doors since the program began last year. They’ve had conversations with about 600 families and connected more than 80 individuals with treatment, according to stats provided by the sheriff’s office.

Preliminary data shows there have been 464 deaths from accidental drug overdoses in Montogmery County this year through the end of August. The number is likely higher because autopsy results can take weeks to be finalized.

Plummer said the grant is just one funding option the county is pursuing.

“Last couple weeks overdoses have gone down,” he said. “Hopefully we’re turning the corner.”

Other local agencies that received grant money from the Attorney General’s office include:

  • Springfield Police Division, $100,000 for Springfield Safe Streets Task Force.
  • Hamilton Police Department, $100,000 for Golden Ticket program.
  • Piqua Police Department, $50,000 for Heroin Education and Addiction Recovery Team.
  • Troy Police Department, $50,000 for Quick Response Team.
  • Sidney Police Department, $50,000 for Sidney Addict Assistance Team.

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