Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute

D.A.R.T. Comprehensive Evaluation


About

In 2021, the University of Toledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute began a comprehensive, multi-year evaluation of the Lucas County Drug Abuse Response Team (DART). Co-coordinators Amy LaGesse, M.A. and Monica Klonowski, Ph.D. ABD will collaborate to evaluate both the original DART Program combatting opioid addiction as well as the educational extension of DART, known as the DART Community Advocates Outreach Project (COAP).

The Lucas County Sheriff’s Office Community Advocates Outreach Project (CAOP), a division of the Drug Abuse Response Team (DART), has secured three-year total funding to serve residents of Lucas County, Ohio. Priority considerations include programming designed for residents in Lucas County, Ohio Census Tracts 10, 22, 47.01 & 102 who have been identified as persons at a poverty rate of at least 20 percent as measured by the American Community Survey of the Census Bureau 2013 – 2017 5-year data report. For many families within Lucas County income disparities can create immense stress which can lead to consequences such as health disparities including drug usage, children falling behind in school, hunger, homelessness and more. This project enhancement serves youth at-risk due to economic hardship and family history of substance abuse. The purpose of the project is to provide outreach services that prevent drug use and encourage occasional users to discontinue use all while building resiliency skills. Federal funding will assist program expansion which will Reduce the Demand of Opioids, Reduce the Supply of Opioids and Promote Harm Reduction.

DART Evaluation

Over the last several decades, the drug overdose epidemic has worsened dramatically and our nation’s substance abuse problem is a public safety issue that threatens the well-being of individuals who abuse drugs and it impacts the safety of our communities. Lucas County, Ohio has also witnessed an increase in unintentional drug overdose deaths across the years. Responding to the public health and safety crisis, Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp launched the Addiction Resource Unit in July of 2014. This unit was the first of its kind in our nation. Today, DART reaches far beyond their traditional roles as first responders, and has engaged the unit directly with linkage to treatment for victims and their families with the goal of raising awareness about the dangers associated with heroin and other drug usage. The University of Toledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute co-coordinators Amy LaGesse, M.A. and Monica Klonowski, Ph.D. ABD will provide evaluation to DART to meet the following objectives: (1) determine those services/programs within DART unit which are effective for the community of Lucas County; (2) determine the areas of strength and weaknesses; (3) determine what is effective and ineffective within the program

COAP Evaluation

The purpose of the project is to provide outreach services that prevent drug use and encourage occasional users to discontinue use all while building resiliency skills. Federal funding will assist program expansion which will Reduce the Demand of Opioids, Reduce the Supply of Opioids and Promote Harm Reduction through the: 1) Development, promotion and implementation of a three-year mixed media drug awareness campaign; and 2) The evaluation of the CAOP educational component of the Drug Abuse Response Team (DART). Evaluators involved on the project will utilize a mixed-methods approach utilizing focus groups, individual interviews, and quantitative surveys to provide support in the following areas: (1) conducting an ongoing process evaluation to provide continual feedback to the project; (2) serving a quality improvement role to ensure the project meets its goals and timelines; (3) conducting an annual outcome evaluation to determine the impact of the intervention. The main components of COAP to be evaluated include the following: education in schools, community engagement, and family support. COAP provides education in schools by conducting 45-minute presentations in schools, hosting webinars, and leading presentations to educate students on drugs and to foster resiliency skills for grades 9-12 students in Toledo Public high schools, Washington Local, and several Catholic Schools. COAP’s community engagement consists of hosting both in person and Facebook Live presentations, including Hidden in Plain Sight. COAP’s areas of family support include in home service/environmental screening and creating safety and recovery plans as needed with the families. Additionally, COAP provides a 4-week educational group for Parents, focusing on the following: NARCAN training, Hidden in Plain Sight training, Grief and Loss support, and Drug Education and Community Resources 101.

For questions related to the DART evaluation, please email amy.lagesse@utoledo.edu and monica.klonowski@utoledo.edu

Last Updated: 2/10/21