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The MetroHealth System’s Office of Opioid Safety Launches Quick Response Teams as Part of Hope after Overdose Outreach Project


As part of its ongoing efforts to respond to the opioid epidemic in Cuyahoga County, MetroHealth’s Office of Opioid Safety is launching two opioid Quick Response Teams.

Part of the Office’s Hope after Overdose Outreach Project (HOOP), the Quick Response Teams will partner with the Westshore Enforcement Bureau (WEB) and the City of Parma Police Department. The teams will be made up of a MetroHealth social worker and a police officer from the partnering departments and will work directly in the communities they serve.

Using public record information and police cooperation, Quick Response Teams will attempt to contact victims and their families at their homes within seven days of a documented overdose. The home visits are not meant to be punitive follow-ups. Instead, the teams will provide information and direct pathways to treatment and education on overdose response, including free overdose-reversing naloxone kits. If survivors are prepared to enter treatment, Quick Response Teams will coordinate community resources to begin that referral process.

The Quick Response Teams purposely pair social workers with police officers. Police departments are often among the first agencies to respond to overdoses. By including partners from WEB and the City of Parma, the teams will be able to reach victims with support and resources faster. Additionally, police representatives build rapport within communities.

“Overdoses often go unreported because of fear of punishment. The Quick Response Teams will try to minimize these fears,” said Joan Papp, MD, emergency medicine physician and medical director of MetroHealth’s Office of Opioid Safety. “If those fighting addiction and their families feel comfortable reaching out for help, they will be much more likely to seek help during an emergency, resources after an overdose and, eventually, treatment.”

HOOP and the Quick Response Teams are funded by a multi-year $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In addition to funding for the Quick Response Teams, the SAMHSA grant provides resources to equip more police departments across Cuyahoga County with naloxone, training resources and education about addiction and treatment. To learn more about the SAMHSA grant, 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.

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