YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Local and state law enforcement officials are working to come up with innovative ways to battle the opioid crisis that is gripping much of the state. Here in the Mahoning Valley, a program at the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office is getting funding for a new approach in the battle.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that 40 law enforcement departments and their partners will receive $3 million in grants that will be used to help replicate or expand Drug Abuse Response Teams (DARTs) and Quick Response Teams (QRTs) to address the opioid epidemic in Ohio.
A QRT is what Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene has put together to service Mahoning County. Greene’s team will get $150,000 of that $3 million. The Newton Falls Police Department in Trumbull County and the East Liverpool Police Department in Columbiana County will receive $50,000 each.
Newton Falls Chief Gene Fixler said his department is committed to getting overdose victims help towards recovery through a program called HALO (Helping Addicted Loved Ones). The department has also teamed up with PAARI (Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative.
Many grant recipients included other partners, such as fire department personnel, emergency management employees, faith-based leaders, and children’s services organizations.
“There is so much good work going on to fight this opioid epidemic and with this new grant money, we can make even more of a difference, as we all work together to save more Ohioans,” DeWine said. “This opioid fight is challenging, but we can continue to make progress.”
DART and QRT teams generally are made up of law enforcement officers partnering with drug treatment providers and others who assist overdose survivors in the recovery process. Team members visit survivors after an overdose and offer counseling and referrals to drug rehabilitation facilities for assessment, detoxification, on-going drug treatment, and aftercare.
Grant recipients are expected to start using the grant money for law enforcement teams before the end of the year.