Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,300,000)
Fairfield Athens Major Crimes Unit
Project FORT: Fairfield Overdose Response Team
Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-based Program
The South-Central Ohio Major Crimes Unit and its Outreach / Overdose Response Team (Project FORT) serves Fairfield County which is situated in south central Ohio adjacent to Columbus, the state capital. According to 2021 US Census estimates, the population of Fairfield County is 161,064 with the area bearing a distinctly Appalachian feel in both geography and demographics. With an average of 3,280 overdose events occurring each day in Ohio Fairfield County has observed a huge increase in the use of Fentanyl / Fentanyl analogues and psychostimulants like Methamphetamine. In 2018 73% of all drug overdoses involved Fentanyl or a Fentanyl analogue while deaths associated with Methamphetamine have increased by 487.5% since 2014. This shift from traditional opiates has had a dramatic impact on the number of incarcerations in Fairfield County. Individuals incarcerated for drug related offences make up more than XX% of the jail population. In just five years recidivism rates have increased by 77% in Fairfield County.
The Major Crimes Unit/Project FORT through a new collaboration with Fairfield County Reentry Program seeks to lower recidivism rates as well as reducing overdoses and overdose deaths targeting individuals in rural areas. The initiative will provide enhanced access to treatment and recovery services and Medically Assisted Treatment for individuals being released from jail. This project would provide an aftercare plan and care team for everyone that would include: 1) Connections to appropriate treatment and community resources; 2) Peer Support/Recovery Coach; 3) and follow up engagement with Project FORT. Additionally, the Major Crimes Unit would add a full-time overdose death investigator who would create a comprehensive response plan to overdose and overdose deaths, liaison with local law enforcement and conduct follow up investigations with a goal of bring closure to these grieving families and hold those responsible for these tragic and unnecessary deaths accountable.
With COSSAP funding Project FORT will work to decrease recidivism rates and increase the number of individuals engaging in treatment and recovery services through breaking the cycle of incarceration for those struggling with substance use disorder by providing: 1) Immediate connection to treatment/recovery services upon release; 2) Follow up care; 3) Enhanced access to recovery housing; 4) Transportation to treatment/recovery services; 5) Comprehensive investigation of overdose deaths.