Middletown’s heroin response team receives $60,000 grant

New funding has been secured to help Middletown’s Quick Response Team, established to address the heroin and opioid crises on the front lines.

A $60,000 grant will provide funding through 2020 to sustain the city’s Quick Response Team operation, and the Middletown team will participate in a regional collaborative of Quick Response Teams to share information and lessons learned with other communities.

Middletown’s Quick Response Team includes a Middletown police officer, paramedic/firefighter and social worker who work together to get treatment for those who overdose.

“This is huge for us,” Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins said of the grant that will pay for salaries and overtime of those assigned to the team. He said it costs the city about $30,000 annually to operate its Quick Response Team.

Fighting the heroin and opioid crisis has strained the city’s budget, including first-responders, police, courts and the health department, Adkins said. With the grant, the city can redirect that $60,000 to fund other programs, he said.

“This is great news for us, a great benefit to the city,” Adkins said.

The Atrium Medical Center Foundation secured the grant from InterAct for Change and the Funders’ Response to the Heroin Epidemic (FRHE), a collaboration of private funders dedicated to ending the Greater Cincinnati region’s opioid and heroin epidemic. The Atrium Medical Center Foundation will administer the funds.

“Atrium Medical Center is a proud partner with the City of Middletown to improve the health of the community, which includes responding to the opioid epidemic,” said Michael Uhl, president of Atrium Medical Center, in a statement. “This grant will allow us to keep our efforts going, and help even more people.”

Hospital patients who give consent are contacted by a member of the Quick Response Team for follow up, sometimes while the patients are still in the hospital.

“The QRT team has been an effective resource in Middletown, serving close to 500 people since its start in 2016. This grant helps continue those efforts as we see a steady decline in the overdoses in our community,” said Middletown Fire Chief Paul Lolli in a statement.

“When an individual experiences an overdose, he/she can be more likely to be interested in being connected to substance abuse treatment programs,” said O’dell M. Owens, president and CEO of InterAct for Change and Interact for Health, in a statement. “Quick Response Teams, such as the one in Middletown, are an emerging tool to remove barriers and link people to the care they need.”

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