In an editorial The Capital Gazette opines on the recently launched Anne Arundel County Safe Stations initiative which provides a means for individuals suffering from addiction to get 24/7 walk-in assistance at police and fire stations across the county.
Last month, about two hours after officials inaugurated the effort at the Brooklyn Park Volunteer Fire Company, a man showed up at that fire station asking for help with his addiction. By last week — just two weeks later — 10 opioid and heroin users had come to either a fire or police station to seek help. The program had hit its capacity.
The initiative is an attempt to get out in front of the growing number of opioid overdoses, which has kept going up in spite of state and county efforts at education and at making available to first responders medication that counter the effects of overdoses. When the safe stations program started last month, there had been 354 overdoses in the county so far in 2017 — 100 more than in the same period in 2016.
The idea of the new program is that those addicted to drugs can get help at any of the county’s police and fire stations, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. These walk-ins get a free medical assessment.
If there’s an immediate concern, they are transferred to an appropriate medical facility. If not, they are given access to the county’s detoxification services and put in touch with the Crisis Response Team. The individuals are required to dispose of any needles or paraphernalia; police agencies will be notified only to dispose of any illegal substances the individuals bring in.
Read The Capital Gazette to learn more.