Opioid Rapid Response Teams (ORRT)

Opioid Rapid Response Teams (ORRT)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps are working together to support state and local agencies when there is a spike in opioid-related overdoses or closure of a clinic where patients are prescribed opioid therapy. Opioid Rapid Response Teams (ORRT) are composed of public health experts ready to deploy on short-notice to support jurisdictions experiencing spikes in opioid-related overdoses or the closure of a clinic where patients are prescribed opioid therapy. ORRTs support local jurisdiction efforts and facilitate linking patients to care to prevent increases in opioid overdoses and deaths. This effort demonstrates HHS’ commitment to ensuring patients have access to appropriate services.

What are Opioid Rapid Response Teams?

ORRTs are specialized teams of public health professionals who can provide rapid, short term (28 days) support to jurisdictions experiencing spikes in opioid-related overdoses or the closure of a clinic where patients are prescribed opioid therapy. Teams provide support to public health partners while also working to build a jurisdiction’s long-term response capacity.

Who participates?

Rapid response teams include technical expertise in epidemiology, clinical provider outreach, communications, policy and partnerships, community outreach, and capacity-building from CDC and the Commissioned Corps. The size and makeup of teams can be tailored to the needs of the situation. Teams will join public health staff in the community where assistance is requested. The requesting public health authority provides overall leadership for the response, while the ORRT provides technical assistance under the jurisdiction’s direction and authority.

How do ORRTs support a local jurisdiction response?

After evaluating a requesting jurisdiction’s needs, CDC may deploy an ORRT in coordination with other federal agencies to:

  • Provide urgent communication to individuals affected or at heightened risk of opioid-related harms.
  • Provide clinicians and other healthcare providers with appropriate resources about recommended opioid prescribing practices, guidance for safe, patient-centered opioid tapering, screening for opioid use disorders, and opioid use disorder treatment options available.
  • Provide epidemiology assistance for overdose surveillance as well as risk factors and protective factors for overdose.
  • Conduct targeted outreach to at-risk groups and provide broader messaging to the public at large about public health and public safety in the context of the opioid crisis.
  • Assist with capacity building for long-term opioid response.

Who can request an ORRT?

Officials with authority for public health can request ORRT assistance.

  • State and territorial public health authorities
  • Local public health authorities, in coordination with the state authorities
  • Elected tribal leaders of federally recognized tribes

Can a local jurisdiction request an ORRT?

Yes, CDC responds to direct requests from local jurisdictions. When a local jurisdiction requests an ORRT, CDC is committed to ensuring the state is aware of the request and is appropriately engaged in any response.

What is the role of the requesting public health authority?

The public health authority provides overall leadership of ORRTs while benefiting from a collaborative relationship with the deployed team. The public health authority generally retains custody and control over all data collected as part of the response.

Who pays for an ORRT?

CDC will pay for lodging, rental cars, flights, meals, and equipment for federal responders.

How do ORRTs benefit public health?

The opioid crisis is a national public health emergency, highlighting the urgent need for local, state, territorial, tribal, and federal agencies to collaborate on effective public health and prevention strategies to reduce opioid misuse and opioid-related harms. CDC is leading efforts to reduce opioid overdoses through coordinated preparedness and response activities that link public health, law enforcement, and health care providers. ORRTs can help mitigate consequences of a pain clinic closure and reduce opioid-related morbidity and mortality by identifying risks of harm and linking to appropriate clinical care and social services.

How can I get more information?

For questions, contact the Opioid Rapid Response Team at ORRT@cdc.gov.

How to request an ORRT

To request ORRT assistance, please contact the CDC Emergency Response Operations Center at 770-488-7100 and ask for the Opioid Rapid Response Team point of contact. The ORRT program will set-up a brief call to discuss the state/jurisdiction needs. For questions, contact the Opioid Rapid Response Team at ORRT@cdc.gov.

Opioid Training Available

The Opioid Rapid Response Team Training Plan is a compilation of resources to provide federal responders with knowledge of the current opioid crisis. State, local, tribal and territorial health agencies can now access this training to support their agency’s efforts.