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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, Cuyahoga County’s public health system, is honoring its commitment to create a healthier community by building a new hospital on its main campus in Cleveland. The building, and the 25 acres of green space around it, are catalyzing the revitalization of MetroHealth’s West Side neighborhood.

MetroHealth will break ground on the new hospital in late 2018, using nearly $1 billion it borrowed on its own credit after dramatically improving its finances. In the past five years, MetroHealth’s operating revenue has increased by 44.5 percent and its number of employees by 21 percent. Today, its staff of 7,700 provides care at MetroHealth’s four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. In the past year, MetroHealth has served 300,000 patients at more than 1.4 million visits in its hospitals and health centers, 75 percent of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

The health system is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and the only adult and pediatric burn center in the state of Ohio.

As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to teaching and research. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and its main campus hospital houses a Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school of science and health.

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