In response to a profound jump in overdose deaths in 2015, stakeholders from across Franklin County, Ohio, gathered together to address the opioid epidemic, discussing strategies related to treatment access, prevention, education, law enforcement, and recovery.
OBJECTIVES OF THE COLUMBUS & FRANKLIN COUNTY ADDICTION PLAN:
(1) Provide prevention education to both consumers and prescribers.
(2) Increase education programming in schools and community centers.
(3) Ensure equity of access and care and increase treatment capacity.
(4) Conduct prevention efforts using data trends that reduce overdose surges and anomalies.
(5) Decrease stigma surrounding substance use disorder.
A timeline of significant milestones and activities includes the following:
- In 2017, the Franklin County Office of Homeland Security and Justice Programs received a COAP grant to reduce overdose deaths in Whitehall, a community disproportionately impacted by opioid overdose and drug offenses. In its first year, the project promoted overdose prevention and naloxone distribution resources, as well as the Community Paramedic Program.
- Funding supported the development and ongoing operations of the Columbus Department of Safety’s Rapid Response Emergency Addiction Crisis Team (RREACT) program, which supports linkages to treatment and offers harm reduction interventions to those refusing treatment.
- In January 2018, the County Coroner’s office started using the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) to help identify real-time overdose trends and hot spots. Whitehall’s firefighters and paramedics were trained on the same system to track fatal and nonfatal overdoses.
- In June 2018, the Whitehall Help for Overdoses (WHO) project, in collaboration with the local Division of Fire, began offering 24/7 access through its Stop Addiction For Everyone (S.A.F.E.) Station program, which facilitates treatment linkages and transport to individuals with opioid use disorders. The overwhelming response to S.A.F.E. Station has prompted exploration of program expansion.
- The Whitehall Mayor’s Drug Court began operating in August 2018 as a prosecutor-led diversion program for at-risk, justice-involved individuals charged with addiction-related misdemeanors. The program offers medication-assisted treatment (MAT); helps with benefit enrollment, housing, and employment; and provides links to peer recovery specialists.