Washtenaw County's Opioid Response

Naloxone training and referral to treatment by law enforcement, community education and collaboration, and a post-overdose response team to respond to the opioid crisis in a Michigan county 

In response to an increase in overdose deaths, Washtenaw County, which contains the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, launched a comprehensive response. To address the opioid crisis, the county has led several initiatives:

More information on the county-wide response can be found in the presentation here and the news article here

Nearly 20% of those who experienced a nonfatal overdose and were referred to treatment through the law enforcement initiative sought treatment services. 

Continuum of Care
Harm Reduction
Type of Evidence
Response Approach
Overdose prevention
Post-overdose response
Recovery coaching
Peer-reviewed Article

Evidence of Program Effectiveness

In regard to the initiative to train law enforcement on naloxone and referral to treatment:

"Pre- and post- test scores for all knowledge outcome measures were statistically significant (p <.001) with favorable comments pertaining to the recovery testimony. Out of 31 individuals who received naloxone, 6 individuals (19.4%) continue to be in treatment or received some treatment services." (Dahlem et al., 2017)

"The ROOT program is composed of a peer recovery coach who is in long-term recovery, and a case management navigator who specializes in mental health care and provides guidance for accessing community services. After an overdose reversal, law enforcement contacts a county 24/7 Crisis Team, who then notifies ROOT. The peer recovery coach engages with the survivor in the ED, and then follow up continues with the case management navigator and the peer recovery coach for up to 90 days post-ED discharge...Of the 122 referrals, 77.0% (n = 94) of the survivors initially engaged with ROOT in the ED or in the community...From the 122 referrals, 33.6% (n = 41) received ongoing treatment services (n = 20 outpatient, n = 17 residential, n = 2 detoxification facility, n = 1 recovery housing, n = 1 medication treatment for opioid use disorder), 2.5% (n = 3) were incarcerated, 2.5% (n = 3) died, and 61.5% (n = 75) declined services...he ROOT, a community-wide coordinated program in the EDs, shows promise in linking overdose survivors to recovery support and treatment services post-overdose." (Dahlem et al., 2020)