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Opioid Use and Misuse/Injury Prevention Program

Cuyahoga County Opiate Task Force

The Cuyahoga County Opiate Task Force (CCOTF) was formed in 2010 to find solutions to the increasing number of accidental drug-related deaths.

The CCOTF is comprised of nearly 200 individuals across 65 organizations. Members include concerned citizens, drug treatment and recovery, education, health care, individuals in recovery, law enforcement, medicine, mental health services, pharmacists, prevention specialists, and public health officials. These diverse partners collaborate at the local, state, and national level to implement prevention strategies that will have a positive impact on reducing drug abuse and death.  Under the leadership of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH), the task force and its sub-committees meet on a bi-monthly basis.

MISSION: To serve the residents of Cuyahoga County by actively working to raise public awareness, promote community action, and provide education related to the dangers and devastating effects of drug abuse.

VISION: To create a healthier community by reducing accidental fatalities associated with opiate abuse through collaborative partnerships that focus on prevention, treatment, and recovery.

The CCOTF is committed to significantly reducing fatalities associated with opioid abuse. The CCOTF will continue to meet on a bimonthly basis.  Meetings are open to anyone who would like to attend.

For more information or to become a member, please visit:

Project DAWN

Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone) is an opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND) program. Its purpose is to save lives by providing Naloxone to individuals and families of those who are at-risk for opioid overdose. Program participants learn about the risk factors for opioid overdose, how to respond to an opioid overdose by calling 911, giving rescue breaths, and administering nasal Naloxone. They are given free Naloxone kits containing three vials of Naloxone Hydrochloride medication.

Those eligible to participate are individuals at-risk for opioid overdose, whether in recovery for opioid use disorder or actively using opioids, and individuals who may be in a future position to assist someone who is at-risk of opioid overdose.

Cuyahoga County’s Project DAWN was launched on March 1, 2013 and has since documented nearly 1000 overdose rescues. It is very much a life-saving tool to be used to combat this epidemic.

Project DAWN is funded by the MetroHealth System, the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Executive’s Office, and the Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County.

For more information:

Project DAWN on MetroHealth’s website

Project DAWN Quick Reference Guide

Project DAWN Training Video

How can the community access Cuyahoga County Project DAWN?

Cuyahoga County MetroHealth Project DAWN operates four free community walk-in clinics that are accessible to individuals regardless of what county they live in:

City of Cleveland – EMS Headquarters

1701 Lakeside Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44114

Walk-in hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Note: Cleveland EMS Headquarters has free parking available on the street

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health

5550 Venture Dr., Parma, OH

Walk-in hours: Fridays, 9 a.m. -12 p.m.

The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland

12201 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH

Walk-in hours: Fridays, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Thomas F. McCafferty Health Center

4242 Lorain Ave., Cleveland, OH

Walk-in hours: Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

*For a list of all Project DAWN sites throughout Ohio, please visit click here.

Naloxone Available at Local Pharmacies

Section 4729.44 of the Ohio Revised Code and rule 4729-5-39 of the Ohio Administrative Code authorizes a pharmacist or pharmacy intern under the direct supervision of a pharmacist to dispense naloxone without a prescription in accordance with a physician-approved protocol.

Through a partnership with MetroHealth, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, and Discount Drug Mart, a standing orders protocol was established. Discount Drug Mart is now fully equipped to furnish naloxone at all of their 74 Ohio pharmacies.

*For an interactive map of where to get Naloxone without a prescription click on the map:

*For a list of all pharmacies dispensing naloxone, please visit

Overview of Local Drug Related Deaths

  • The leading cause of injury-related death in Ohio continues to be accidental drug overdose
  • The United States consumes nearly 80% of the world’s total opioid supply, even though it makes up only 5% of the world’s population.
  • About 75% of all prescription drug overdose deaths can be attributed to opioid pain relievers.
  • Ohio has experienced nearly an 800% increase in fatalities since 2000.
  • Heroin and Fentanyl are significantly contributing to the alarming increase in fatal overdoses.

Opiates (fentanyl, heroin, pain pills)


Opiate-originates from naturally-occurring elements found in the opium poppy plant. These drugs are best known for their ability to relieve pain symptoms. Opiate drug types include heroin, opium, morphine and codeine.

Opioid-any chemical that resembles morphine and is also used to treat pain. They can be naturally occurring or man-made. Examples include oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, methadone, hydrocodone (Vicodin).

Fentanyl– a powerful opiate that is 30-50 times more potent than heroin. It is typically used during anesthesia or to treat patients with severe pain.  However, recent overdoses have been connected to illegally-produced and trafficked fentanyl, not diverted pharmaceutical-grade fentanyl.

Carfentanil-a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and up to 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It has been mixed with heroin, causing an increase in the number of overdoses.  There are no known medicinal purposes for humans. It is typically used to sedate large animals, such as elephants.

Naloxone- Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug. When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and quickly restores breathing. Naloxone has no potential for abuse.

Contributing Factors

There are several contributing factors that lead to this epidemic.

  • Changes made to clinic pain management guidelines during the late 1990’s
  • Marketing medications directly to the consumer
  • Over-prescribing of high-potency pain medication
  • HCAHPS/Press Ganey Scores (patient satisfaction surveys) that affected hospital reimbursement
  • Abuse-deterrent formulations of medications that may have inadvertently shifted abuse towards heroin
  • Mass incarceration for non-violent, drug-related crimes
  • Lack of treatment availability
  • Stigma; viewing drug addiction as a moral failing



Reports and Fact Sheets