Colerain Township turns firehouses into safe stations for opioid addicts
COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKRC) - In order to help connect opioid addicts to treatment, the Colerain Township Fire Department is turning its firehouses into safe stations.
Colerain Township firefighters have been on their fair share of overdose runs, and twice a week, quick response teams (QRT) go to the home of people who've overdosed to offer them help getting into treatment.
"The QRT has been widely successful," Will Mueller, Colerain Township assistant fire chief, said. "Obviously, not just as local model, regional model, but now a national model."
Assistant Chief Mueller says overdoses are down 62 percent from this time in 2017. To help addicts get into treatment more quickly, they can go to any firehouse in Colerain Township, which are now designated as safe stations.
"Treatment is typically a Monday through Friday thing," Mueller said. "Now people can get connected at least to recovery 24 hours a day."
In addition to an evaluation of medical needs, the addicts will also receive a free Narcan kit and connected to the Addiction Services Council, which connects people to treatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"I think that link is really important," Nan Franks from the Addiction Services Council said. "It gives people another place, another opportunity where, if I decide right now I need help, I can just go on up there. I don't have to worry about going through phone calls."
The safe stations are another way to reduce the stigma surround addiction and since last Thursday, two people have been helped and the fire department hopes that there will be more to come.
"Individuals are often fearful of reaching out for help because they're afraid of being judged, afraid of being criticized," Mueller said. "We remove that because we're providing a judgment-free zone and a safe zone where they're going to be treated well."
Colerain Township got the idea that the safe stations from a program used in Manchester, N.H.
The Addiction Services Council is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call to connect you with help at 513-281-7880.