Mahoning County sheriff putting together overdose response team

Jerry Greene hopes to receive the grant soon enough to have a team in place within the next month

Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Even after putting together a task force to go after those who supply fatal amounts of drugs and supplying police departments with the overdose reversal drug naloxone, Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene admits finding the key to break the cycle of addiction remains elusive, but a new program could help.

Greene told Mahoning County commissioners Tuesday that he is applying for a $150,000 grant to put together what he is calling a Quick Response Team (QRT) to help those who survive opioid overdoses.

The intervention program, which is patterned after others now set up in other parts of the state, would send deputies as well as drug recovery and mental health experts in to meet with addicts and their families within a day or two of an overdose.

“It’s law enforcement. It’s counselors and it is people from the medical field and even the church community,” Greene said.

Alki Santamas, director with Meridian Care Services, says addicts often don’t realize the services that are available to help them to get clean. This new response would help with that.

“We don’t want them to relapse. We don’t want them to overdose again. For those drug offenders, it is easy to find drugs, but they really don’t know how to go about getting treatment, “ Santamas said. “This way, we will educate them. We will give them information right there in their homes.”

Greene hopes to receive the grant soon enough to have the QRT in place within the next month.

“I have a feeling a year from now you are going to have people testifying that this type of intervention will be beneficial,” Greene said.


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