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Franklin County Unveils Three-Year Grant To Track Opioid Abuse

prescription drugs in hand
Charlie Neibergall
Associated Press

Thanks to a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Franklin County will receive nearly $4 million annually for the next three years to better track and respond to opioid abuse.

Franklin County Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola says the "Data to Action" grant aims to bolster efforts to track opioid abuse and increase prevention efforts.

“So the purpose again of this grant is obtain high-quality, more comprehensive and timelier data,” Mazzola says, “and to use those data to inform and accelerate our prevention and response efforts.”

Franklin County Commission President Marilyn Brown touts the range of different approaches the grant will allow local partners to pursue.

"It will allow us to track the effects of opiate addiction on the children of addicted parents, better link overdose survivors with treatment, work more effectively with our local hospitals, and create a campaign to address the stigma around opiate use disorder," Brown says.
The Columbus Division of Fire is one of 15 area recipients of the grant dollars. Mayor Andrew Ginther says the funding will help the division establish another rapid response team.

“The core RREACT [Rapid Response Emergency Addiction Crisis Team] team includes one firefighter/paramedic, one CIT, crisis intervention trained police officer, and one social worker or equivalent clinician,” Ginther says. “Real help on the spot, and an opportunity to go into treatment right then.”

Franklin County Public Health secured the grant, and is tasked with coordinating the different efforts of grant recipients and developing a public health campaign to fight the stigma of opioid use disorder.

Preliminary state data shows that last year, while drug overdose deaths fell by 22% in Ohio as a whole, the number of deaths actually increased by 10% in Franklin County.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.