Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $599,650)
In partnership with the local school system and a team of experienced scientists, the City of Maumee (situated in Lucas County, Ohio) requests funding to implement a law-enforcement-led response that addresses our City’s severe substance abuse problems. Situated in one of the foremost epicenters of the nation’s ongoing opioid epidemic, the City of Maumee is experiencing fatal drug overdoses at rates far higher than the rest of Lucas County and the State of Ohio. Our worst problems are with opioids, stimulants (primarily cocaine and methamphetamine), and drug cocktails involving both opioids and stimulants. In response, we propose to plan and deliver the Maumee Opioid Early Response Program. In addition to embedding social services into law enforcement operations for children impacted by family drug use, we plan to start an evidence-based, school drug prevention initiative – the L.E.A.D. program. Finally, we will use these funds to expand our City’s drug take-back capabilities. Two new, full-time Prevention and Community Outreach Coordinators (PCOCs; non-sworn, licensed social workers) will be hired by the Maumee Police Division (MPD). They will maintain a new database on opioid, stimulant, and drug overdoses to immediately identify children whose family members have come into contact with law enforcement for drugs. The PCOCs will also deliver L.E.A.D. programming to the City’s K-12 population. Additionally, the PCOCs will oversee operations of enhanced drug take-back initiatives and community outreach efforts through two new drug return points and one additional drug take-back day. The research will develop a database to collect and track substance abuse data, conduct a program evaluation, and communicate process and outcome findings so we can gauge project performance and make modifications as needed for program improvement. During a six-month planning phase, the MPD will hire the PCOCs and finalize steps necessary to align personnel for a two-year program implementation and delivery phase. Evaluation efforts, which will be ongoing during the implementation phase, will conclude during a six-month conclusion phase. The research team will disseminate results to law enforcement, the treatment community, and scientific stakeholders through presentations at professional conferences and publications in scientific journals to share lessons learned for other jurisdictions planning youth- and community-focused opioid response initiatives.