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Heroin "Quick Response" Motion Likely To Be Passed By Cincinnati Council

Tana Weingartner

A Cincinnati City Council motion to create a heroin "quick response" team is likely to be passed at Wednesday's council meeting.

Colerain Township and Norwood already have such teams, which are not only trained in administering naloxone, the drug that brings persons over-dosing on heroin back to consciousness, but in helping addicts get treatment.

Monday, council's law committee voted for the motion, which was sponsored by Mayor John Cranley and several council members. It appears to have at least the five votes needed to be passed by the nine-member city council. 

Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate told council's law committee Monday the city's fire and police dealt with 55 overdose cases this past weekend alone. It's taking away from the time police can spend with other duties, he says. 

"All of those lives are valuable, but it is a huge drain on resources,'' Neudigate said. "It is definitely impacting some of our crime numbers; and we've seen some increases in our violent crime. Our ability to put officers in both places simultaneously is becoming very challenging." 

Neudigate said there was a day a few weeks ago "when this spike was taking off" that District 3, the largest of the city's police districts, had a period of time when there were 20 officers on patrol and 14 of them were dealing with overdose cases. 

"I don't want to say it puts the general public at risk, but it does increase our code zeroes and it put us behind the eight ball,'' the assistant chief said. 

The motion estimates the cost of the quick response program to be $136,500, with the money coming from asset forfeiture funds, human services funds or "other appropriate and available sources." 

A Quick Response Team would visit people after an overdose to help with addiction services. 

Council member P.G. Sittenfeld said the city would partner with Talbert House and hold 20 community-based sessions to train people on how to respond in the case of an overdose, including the administering of naloxone.