Cleveland, OH,
17:16 PM

The MetroHealth System Receives $1.9 Million Grant to Combat Opioid Epidemic in Cuyahoga County

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded MetroHealth a multiyear grant to combat the opioid epidemic's effects in Cuyahoga County.

The four-year award will establish the MetroHealth First Responders Project (FRP). The project will seek to increase access to naloxone kits countywide, provide education and training to law enforcement and lay responders, and increase access to treatment and recovery for overdose survivors and their families.

Emily Metz, MPH, program coordinator for Project DAWN, will serve as project director of FRP. Working closely with MetroHealth's Office of Opioid Safety and Cuyahoga County Project DAWN, Metz will oversee the creation and implementation of each aspect of the FRP’s strategies to decrease overdoses across Cuyahoga County.

Since 2007, opioid overdose has been the leading cause of injury death across Ohio. In 2016 alone, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office reported 557 opioid-related deaths, more than doubling the record-setting numbers from 2015.

In recent years, limited funding combined with high demand in communities hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, has resulted in growing shortages and unmet needs for law enforcement agencies. In 2016, agencies requested more than 1,300 intranasal naloxone kits from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. However, its available funding only allowed for the purchase of approximately 900.

The FRP's resources will fill in these gaps and expand access to more communities throughout the region. The project plans to distribute 1,600 additional naloxone kits to opioid users and their families annually. Further, FRP resources will be used to ensure that at least 95 percent of law enforcement agencies across Cuyahoga County are carrying and distributing naloxone by January 2019.

In addition to purchasing and distributing naloxone to more agencies, the program will increase efforts to train citizens on how to reverse overdoses with naloxone. Program staff will offer yearly web-based and in-person training on overdose response and naloxone administration to 100 percent of Cuyahoga County's law enforcement agencies. The grant's funding will also allow Project DAWN to hire another full-time staff member who will expand existing overdose prevention offerings.

The FRP's final goal is providing pathways into treatment for overdose survivors. This objective will be achieved through the FRP’s Hope after Overdose Outreach Project (HOOP). The HOOP team will consist of a social worker and area police officers who will visit survivors' homes within seven days of an overdose. The teams will provide information and direct pathways to treatment, education on overdose response and free naloxone kits. If survivors are prepared to enter treatment, quick response teams will guide them into the treatment process.

For more information about Project DAWN, click here.

To learn more about SAMHSA programs and grants, click here.

About the MetroHealth System

The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.

The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.

As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.

Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.

The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.

For more information, visit