by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, August 2020) Attention to the crisis of opioid overdose deaths in Cuyahoga County remains a priority during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The MetroHealth Cuyahoga County Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone) is using an expanded mobile unit to distribute its Narcan Kits and Safe Injection Kits, and to offer referrals for those seeking an opioid drug treatment or detox program.
The mobile unit is located at 3370 W. 25th Street and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The location is on the west side of West 25th Street (between Sackett and Trowbridge across from the MetroHealth outpatient clinics).
Project DAWN, a program designed to help reduce deaths due to opioid overdoses, closed several of its locations due to the corona virus COVID-19, including the clinic at nearby Hispanic HUMADAOP on W. 25th and the downtown clinic at the Cleveland EMS headquarters on Lakeside. Other clinics have more limited hours than usual. The Circle Health Clinic at 12201 Euclid Avenue is now open only from 12-4 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The McCafferty Health Center Project DAWN location, 4242 Lorain Avenue, is now open only on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (if you are going to McCafferty call ahead at 664-6603 to make sure someone will be there).
The MetroHealth Expanded Mobile Unit is helping to fill in the gap. When Plain Press staff visited the unit in July there were four staff people in the unit prepared to offer services to clients. Project DAWN Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant Stephanie Shorts said the mobile unit offers both Safe Injection Kits and Project DAWN Narcan kits.
The Safe Injection Kits include fentanyl test kits, alcohal swabs, sterile water bottle, tourniquet, ointments, cotton and a cooker. The Safe Injection Kits are available to drug users who are interested in harm reduction, said Shorts.
The Project DAWN Narcan kits include two doses of nasal Narcan, a face shield, and a reference guide which describes how and when to use Narcan. The reference guide also lists the locations and contact information for Project DAWN clinics.
Shorts says the Project DAWN Narcan kits are available to anyone interested in receiving training and education in the use of Narcan. The Narcan is used to attempt to revive a person who has stopped breathing due to an opioid overdose. Shorts says the Project DAWN staff will help train friends and loved ones of those addicted to opioids, and any interested individuals, in the use of the Narcan.
In addition to providing the Safe Injection and Narcan kits, the staff of Project DAWN mobile unit will help with resource lists and referrals to treatment and detox programs if clients are ready, said Shorts.
Once a week the mobile unit also has fresh produce to distribute to clients of the program, Shorts added.
In addition to Shorts, staff at the mobile unit include Program Assistants Roger Lowe and Frank Scialabba, and Intern Aubrey Montgomery.