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.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our 8,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit metrohealth.org.