MEDINA — The Medina County Sheriff’s Office and nonprofit Alternative Paths Inc. were awarded $100,000 this week to form a county opioid response team.
The team will consist of a part-time commissioned officer from the sheriff’s office and a full-time chemical dependency clinician employed by Alternative Paths, a Medina-based outpatient behavioral health care agency.
The specialized response team will offer counseling and referrals to drug rehabilitation facilities so those struggling with addiction can find the help necessary for successful recovery.
The program is expected to be functional within 45 days.
In August, the two agencies applied for a Law Enforcement Diversion Program grant through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. State Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township, announced the grant award Wednesday.
“We are committed to fighting the scourge of addiction, and I’m pleased we were able to fund these grants as part of the new state budget,” Obhof said in a statement.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Bev Fraser has said that Gail Houk, director of forensic services for Alternative Paths, would oversee the program, and the team would help get people set up for treatment.
The team clinician would manage referrals, which could come from several sources including:
- county law enforcement agencies;
- Medina County Drug Task Force;
- Medina County Job and Family Services;
- family members of opiate-addicted individuals.
Referred clients would be given information on local medical and social services resources, as well as chemical dependency treatment providers and assisted with health coverage including Medicaid.
Funding for the grant was added by the Ohio Senate as part of an overall effort to tackle the opioid crisis by improving education, treatment, addiction and recovery efforts, and stepping up law enforcement, according to a news release from Obhof.
The Mansfield Police Department and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office also received funding.