Clermont County to spotlight comprehensive effort to address mental health, substance use challenges

BATAVIA, OH (July 14, 2023) – Clermont County is participating in Ohio’s BRIDGE Day, in support of the first national Day of Deflection, on Wednesday July 19. The event serves to educate the public about the work of law enforcement and treatment partnerships to address mental health and substance use challenges.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS) in collaboration with other state, local and private entities are driving the statewide community outreach day called BRIDGE Day.

Bridging Recovery Interdiction Data Gathering Enforcement (BRIDGE) combines law enforcement and substance use treatment resources in a coordinated effort focusing on reduction of supply and demand, simultaneously prioritizing treatment for those who qualify. Deflection Teams, also known as Quick Response Teams (QRTs), are comprised of first responders and mental health professionals who assist in pre-arrest diversion and post-overdose response.

Deflection is when first responders, social workers and recovery support professionals connect individuals experiencing mental health or substance use challenges to community-based treatment and/or services as an alternative to arrest or taking no action.

Clermont County has been in the forefront of these trends since the Opiate Task Force (now called the Clermont Addiction and Recovery Partnership) helped created QRTs in 2017. Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services provides QRTs under a contract with the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board (MHRB).

The team consists of first responders and treatment professionals. With QRT, the goal is to get people into treatment following an overdose.

“In Clermont County, increased naloxone distribution and heightened awareness mean that more people are surviving opioid overdoses,” said Lee Ann Watson, Director of the MHRB, and former Co-Chair of the County’s Opiate Task Force. “The QRT partners first responders with treatment professionals who can connect people to needed substance use disorder treatment at a time they are most actively seeking it.”

A video is being created to help explain how deflection works in Clermont County.