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Hamilton County Heroin Task Force Wants To Take Fight 'To Next Level'

The Quick Response Team had an even bigger challenge last spring because it had 25% fewer members to respond because of the pandemic and protests over the killings of Black people by police.

The Hamilton County Quick Response Team (QRT), connecting surviving overdose victims with treatment, is making such an impact that organizers are planning to expand it.

Commander of the Hamilton County Heroin Task Force and Program Director for the QRT Tom Fallon says thanks to team members and other agencies, overdose deaths will likely be down 10% in 2020. He says there's still work to be done since in 2012 and earlier, accidental overdoses numbered in the 200s in Hamilton County and are now in the 400s.

QRT Expansion

Every neighborhood in Hamilton County has a QRT and Colerain Township has its own. In the next few months, Fallon will establish a new response. "Part of the program is going to be hot spot outreach, in areas reported with a high number of overdoses."

The QRT is also expected to go full-time. It is now a two-day-a-week, part-time program.

Sharing More Information To Save Lives

In addition, Co-Chair for Interdiction for the Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition Tom Synan says the agencies will do a better job of communicating.

"What you're going to see from now on is we're going to take it to the next level, not just intervening," he says. "We want to keep you into the system with care. And we want to work you all throughout the recovery and support you in the act of recovery," he says he tells addicts.

Fallon, who also serves as the legislative head of the Ohio Task Force Commanders, says other police agencies want to know how Hamilton County does what it does. "We're willing to try things. If it doesn't work, we move on. If it works, we run with it." 

The Ohio Attorney General's Office published recent statistics on drug overdoses for every 100,000 people. Hamilton County was 2.6% compared to Highland County at 11.4%.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.