By Ed Richter
A six-month-old program aimed at getting help for people addicted to opioids is seeing positive results , according to leaders of the effort.
The city’s heroin quick response team has contacted 65 people who have had an opioid overdose since its launch March 1.
Called the Helping Overdose through Prevention and Education, or HOPE, program, a team consisting of a police officer, paramedic and a social worker has a goal of meeting with a person who overdosed within three to five days to connect them with appropriate assistance.
Franklin Fire Chief Jonathan Westendorf said that assistance could include encouragement, support, counseling, treatment, transportation, communicating, clothing, housing and follow-up. He said the HOPE team gets referrals for health care providers, other first responders and from the courts.
In addition, the HOPE team is attending community events passing out literature about program as well as pocket cards with information on how to identify opioid overdose signs as well as where to get help.
In its first six months of operation, the HOPE team has spent about 240 hours meeting and visiting those who have overdosed, which has resulted in 17 seeking either in-patient or outpatient treatment. In addition, the HOPE team is currently working to get another 12 people into some type of treatment program.
“I’m pretty happy about that,” Westendorf said.