Colerain overdose response program gaining national attention

Colerain overdose response program gaining national attention

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - The local fight against the heroin epidemic is gaining some interest nationwide, and it's starting in Colerain Township.
 
In 2015, the township developed what's known as the Quick Response Team in response to the heroin and opiate epidemic problem.
 
"The idea is to bring addiction services and counseling directly to the doorstep of the individual instead of relying on the individual to solely step out on their own to get help," said Assistant Fire Chief Will Mueller with the Colerain Township Fire Department.
 
To do that, a police officer, paramedic and addiction counselor go door-to-door once a week to follow up with someone who recently overdosed to get them help and treatment.
 
"To date, we're up over 250 follow-ups we've conducted. Right about 80 percent, eight out of 10 of those that we get into touch with, have gotten into recovery," Mueller told FOX19 NOW.
 
Officials are touting the program as a success. Perhaps that's why interest in the QRT program is now peaking in other parts of the country.
 
The program has been presented to groups also battling drug epidemics in Texas, North Carolina, Kentucky and Indiana, and just returned from a trip to Huntington, West Virginia earlier this week.
 
"The word got out pretty quickly about what the QRT was, how it operated," Mueller said.
 
Mueller says that from 2011 to 2015, overdoses were on a steady incline in Colerain Township. The numbers were on a downslope in 2016 until carfentanil arrived, leading to more than 50 overdoses in September. Had that not happened, Mueller says, numbers would have d ropped 10 percent.

"We've seen success.  If other communities can adopt that model and see the same success and lives are being saved, then we're doing what we're supposed to do," Mueller said.

Mueller told FOX19 NOW that several communities in North Carolina, West Virginia and other parts of Ohio would like to adopt a QRT plan.

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