Overdose deaths in Black men are on a rise, according to Hamilton County, which says it is taking steps to improve the situation.
The county said in a release that they will be adding a new program to their Quick Response Team (QRT) that “applies evidence-based interventions specifically tailored to improving outcomes among Black males in the community.”
There has been a 16.9% increase in overdose deaths of Black Ohioans in the past year, according to Harm Reduction Ohio’s analysis of Ohio Department of Health mortality data.
Part of the new program from the Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition (HC ARC) is the expansion of the QRT from a part-time, two-day-a-week initiative to a full-time, seven-day-a-week one. This includes an African American Male Outreach Program, supported by an $80,000 state grant.
HC ARC and QRT say they will also utilize the grant to partner with Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office to "dispatch a team (to) engage in traditional door, in combination with proactive outreach, to connect and serve Hamilton County’s most impacted African American neighborhoods.” The Board of County Commissioners also passed a resolution to hire three full-time QRT navigators, according to Hamilton County.
“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 in a release. “This partnership will save lives and get people into treatment and long-term recovery.”
Hamilton County says that the QRT includes a state trooper, a sheriff’s deputy and the peer navigators, who will “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.”
“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. “I believe we can be a national model for others to follow.”
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