First responders of opioid epidemic get appreciation from city a - Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather Sports

First responders of opioid epidemic get appreciation from city and state officials

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In Allen County, first responders are being recognized for their hard work. In Allen County, first responders are being recognized for their hard work.

It’s a week of recognition. In Allen County, first responders are being recognized for their hard work. The Allen County Commissioners and the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize and Hardin Counties are showing their gratitude towards fire, EMS and police first responders of the opioid epidemic. Proclamations from the commissioners, governor and attorney general were presented to show their appreciation. 

The first responders were joined by members of Coleman Professional Services and a few individuals who are recovering from a drug addiction. One survivor said it was a blessing in disguise to go through a drug treatment program. Another survivor who overdosed three times called Narcan her saving grace and allowed her to get the treatment she needed.

"One of the tough things for first responders and EMS is seeing the same patients over and over again," said Joseph Kitchen, fire chief for Bath Township. "Certainly, we want to do everything we can to save lives, but just treating them with Narcan is not enough. We’ve got to get these people into programs. We’ve collaborated a lot with law enforcement and local services and I think it’s starting to work.

One of the programs mentioned in the meeting was a quick response team. The team is made up of certified recovery supporters, people who have battled and overcome addiction themselves, to aid someone who recently overdosed. The program began December first and has seen 30 individuals begin treatment.

"I believe last year there was close to 1000 overdoses, maybe seen in our tri-county," said Lisa Ashafa, director of peer services at Coleman Professional Services. "I mean that's a significant amount. You’re talking 30 individuals since December first. We just started the month of April.

Coleman has received 1200 referrals from the Lima Police Department in the last two years. Of that, 895 have made contact to inquire about treatment. That is almost a 75 percent success rate.

A couple of fire and police officials did mention in the meeting that the number of overdose calls is on a downward trend and they hope to see that continue.

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