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Heroin Response Teams To Expand County Wide

Bill Rinehart
County commissioners meet with Heroin Coalition members to discuss the expanded quick response team program.

A quick response team will soon be operating across Hamilton County. The Heroin Coalition's Tom Fallon says the teams will contact people who've overdosed and try to get them into treatment.

"The law enforcement end is to find them and then turn them over to the treatment people," Fallon says. "I've literally had people cry. And then you get the door slammed in your face. So all you're doing is asking them, 'What can we do to help you?' That's what the law enforcement role is." 

Team members will split their time between western and eastern Hamilton County. On Tuesdays, the team will work out of Amberley Village Police Department offices, and Fridays, they'll be at the Delhi Township administration building. If necessary, those days will be increased.

Colerain Township and Cincinnati have already operated similar quick response teams. Those efforts will continue.

"We need a response that is nimble enough to respond to the different areas of the county in a moment's time," says Commissioner Denise Driehaus.

Tom Fallon says the goal of a quick response team (QRT) is to prevent overdoses and overdose deaths. "We feel like we've learned from existing models. It's about nationally, 30 percent of the people you encounter, you're able to get into treatment." He says the coalition is confident there are enough treatment beds and resources available locally to handle an influx of patients.

The team is funded in part by a $400,000 federal grant. The QRT starts work April 3.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio in markets including Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.