Another successful Solution Series hosted by Triad Behavioral Resources and New Vision Therapy, PLLC
with the help of Greensboro AHEC, Addiction Professionals of North Carolina, Greensboro Police Department, High Point Police Department, Guilford County EMS, Caring Services, UNCG Spartan Collegiate Recovery Program, Nashville Police Department, the Hope Initiative and all who attended! We are thrilled to have hosted another successful Solution Series event.
See the link from the article here
Collaboration is Essential to Beating Addiction
What do you get when you put together two recovering opioid users, two police chiefs, a narcotics officer, an EMS supervisor and a social worker?
The answer is not a punch line or a crime drama.
The answer is solutions. You get solutions.
Those participants met last week at a remarkable panel discussion, [as Part III of the Solution Series] presented by Triad Behavioral Resources & New Vision Therapy, to talk about addressing opioid addiction.
“I’m very exited to have this conversation,” said Chase Holleman, Naloxone coordinator with Caring Services, an addiction treatment center in High Point. “I’m really excited because law enforcement agencies across the state and across the nation have been innovators and leaders … sticking their neck out and creating awesome interventions and programs to help folks like me who are affected by substance abuse.”
When Holleman overcame his addiction to heroin, his life had been saved three times by Naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Now, he works to save others and get them on the path to recovery.
Increasingly, law enforcement agencies are working collaboratively with health-care providers, social workers and addiction recovery professionals on more effective ways to combat the opioid crisis, which claimed more than 33,000 Americans in 2015. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Guilford County EMS, sheriff’s deputies and Greensboro police officers all carry Naloxone, so they can save the lives of people who are overdosing. But some law enforcement agencies are going even further, reaching out to drug users who want to quit.
The HOPE Initiative in Nashville, N.C., allows anyone suffering from addiction to come to the police station and ask for help. These people can turn in drugs or drug paraphernalia, and they won’t be arrested. They won’t be asked to name dealers or assist in investigations. Instead, they are assisted with care, starting with detox and continuing to long-term recovery. In the program’s first year, 112 people entered treatment.
“Some in the law enforcement community don’t feel this is police work,” Nashville Police Chief Thomas Bashore said. “But I got into police work to help people.”
When it comes to drug use, “we aren’t helping people by putting them in jail,” said Capt. Rich Culler, who heads the vice/narcotics division of the GPD. “What we’re doing isn’t working.”
Bashore based the program on a similar effort in Gloucester, Mass., getting buy-in from the Nash County District Attorney and the local hospital, which added Transitional Care Social Worker Amanda Flory to its staff to connect participants in the program to treatment.
At Coastal Plain Hospital in Nash County, 25 percent of the 1,600 patients admitted in 2016 had an addiction disorder, Flory said. Many are now testing positive for Hepatitis C, a viral infection that attacks the liver and often is spread by sharing needles.
“In Eastern North Carolina, we’re very rural and, at times, not very progressive, but we have been completely embraced by county officials, law enforcement and many different sectors in the work we’re doing,” Flory said. “Another huge initiative we’re doing is outreach. We want to break down the stigma associated with addiction.”
The reality is, this could happen to any of us, said Guilford County EMS Director Jim Albright. Many people become addicted to prescription pain medications, such as Oxycotin and Hydrocodone, then transition to heroin. Bringing together people in recovery with law enforcement is key to reaching the population that needs help.
“We have to form coalitions so that people in the user community know we are not the problem, we are the solution,” Albright said. “We need that face of addiction.”
-Susan Ladd, Greensboro News & Record