A couple of drug abuse programs recently established in Willoughby, Ohio have been supporting and protecting Lake County residents.
Project OPIATE — Opiate Prevention Initiative Action through Education — is a pioneering program that was launched by the Ohio State Extension Office in partnership with the Lake County General Health District to curb the effects of the opioid epidemic in the county through peer-to-peer education.
The program features student leaders who inform their peers about the dangers, risks, and consequences of opioid misuse and addiction.
Local officials have recruited approximately 20 teenagers and four adults to go through leadership training sessions focused on prevention strategies designed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The training sessions also help the participants learn how to recognize the signs of drug misuse or abuse and take action to prevent the situation from becoming a substance use disorder.
The teens who received training are all students of the Willoughby-Eastlake City School District.
The project OPIATE pays special attention to prescription opioids due to the fact that the pharmaceuticals have been fueling the opioid crisis in the state and the nation, but other opioids such as heroin are also targeted by the initiative.
The Lake County Quick Response Team is another pilot program that has been implemented in the county aims to facilitate access to addiction treatment services.
The initiative has been established by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Lake County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board with funding provided by the Office of the Ohio Attorney General amounting to $80,000.
The Lake County Quick Response Team program features a team of responders that will visit the residents of the county who have received medical assistance after they have experienced a drug overdose. The members of the response team will provide the person who survived an overdose with information on all the different addiction treatment programs, detox facilities and rehabilitation centers that may be able to help them overcome the substance use disorders they are struggling with.
The program’s team includes police officers, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters as well as certified behavioral health specialists.
The visit usually occurs a few days after the overdose has taken place or, in cases that involve hospitalization, a couple of days after the person has been discharged. If the overdose survivors show that they are ready and willing to accept professional help during the visit, the members of the Lake County Quick Response Team will offer to take them to an addiction treatment program right away.
The two drug abuse programs have been established in response to the alarming number of lives taken throughout the state because of toxic substances.
A study recently led by the members of the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health examined the number of overdose deaths that occurred in the state from 2010 to 2016 and revealed that during that period more than 13,000 people died just from opioid-related overdoses.
The authors of the study highlighted that the figures show that opioid overdoses accounted for more than 500,000 years of life lost in the state and over 13,000 years in Lake County.