Expanding Hamilton County's Quick Response Team

Black Male Overdose Deaths Are on the Rise in Ohio. Here's What Hamilton County Is Doing About It.

QRT Expansion Press Conference

In response to the soaring overdose deaths among African American males in Ohio, Hamilton County is expanding its Quick Response Team with a new program that applies evidence-based interventions specifically tailored to improving outcomes among Black males in the community.

The Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition (HC ARC) and its county-wide Quick Response Team (QRT) has expanded from a part-time, two day a week initiative to a full-time program. One component of this expansion is the African American Male Outreach Program, thanks to roughly $800,000 in State Grant Funding.

The grant funding enabled HC ARC and QRT to partner with Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office to dispatch a team engage in traditional door, in combination with proactive outreach, to connect and serve Hamilton County's most impacted African American neighborhoods. Hamilton County is the first of its kind that has committed staff and dedicated resources to this type of targeted outreach.

The Board of County Commissioners recently passed a resolution to hire the three full-time QRT navigators.

"The Board is backing this important initiative all the way," said Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas. "Addiction can crush a family and have lasting impacts on generations."

"There's a theme with our commission- we are now bringing the resources to the people instead of the people trying to find the resources," said Commission Vice President Alicia Reece. "Whether it is the 513Relief Bus or this effort, I believe we can be a national model for others to follow."

"We are taking a strategy that we know works with the Quick Response Teams and expanding the strategy in the African American community where we are seeing an increase in overdose deaths," said Commissioner Denise Driehaus. "This partnership will save lives and get people into treatment and long term recovery."

"UMADAOP stands united with Hamilton County Quick Response Team in order to strengthen our comprehensive, culturally appropriate, evidence-based interventions as we fight to reduce overdoses and deaths of specifically African American males, and other minority residents living or returning to communities of Hamilton County," says Leah Dennis-Ellsworth, President & CEO of UMADAOP.

The Quick Response Team consists of two full-time law enforcement officers, a State Trooper and a Sheriff's Deputy, and three peer navigators who provide "in-home" triage and assessment of overdose victims with the goal of connecting the overdose victim with the most appropriate treatment specific to their needs. The QRT has been in operation since April 2018. The Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition, formerly the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition, consists of community members, leaders, advocates and experts dedicated to ending the opioid epidemic in our community. The coalition was formed in 2015 to connect people to the right resources and treatments. Since then, the coalition has developed into a nationally-recognized model for inter-agency communication, collaboration, and innovation.

According to Harm Reduction Ohio's analysis of Ohio Department of Health mortality data, Ohio saw a 16.9 % increase in overdose deaths among Black residents when comparing 2021 to 2020. More concerning, overdose deaths among black men has seen a sharp increase in recent years as the deadly drug fentanyl has been increasingly found in cocaine and other drugs besides heroin.

Posted on 10/08/2021