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Quick-Response Team: New Tool in Opiate Challenge

Vince Winkel
The quick-response team approach will involve law enforcement, EMS services, and addiction therapeutic programs in a unified attack of the opiate epidemic in Wilmington.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein was in Wilmington Monday to discuss the opioid epidemic with the area’s state and local elected officials, law enforcement, and health care providers. There is a bipartisan effort in the works to bring a pilot project to Wilmington to treat opiate overdoses. House Bill 324 would create a quick-response team that would respond to overdoses with additional emergency support.

The quick-response team is a model based on a successful program in Ohio. The idea is to do more than revive someone going through an opioid overdose. Wilmington Deputy Police Chief Mitch Cunningham.

“We go back, meet with them, encourage them into treatment, do assessments on them. So instead of trying to expect them to immediately after an overdose to start making rational decisions this is really using the data using the information we have to go back in a controlled situation where we can sit down with the folks and really map out an approach to recovery.”

The program would bring together EMS services, law enforcement, and addiction therapeutic programs in a unified attack of the opiate epidemic in Wilmington.

Kenny House is the clinical director of Coastal Horizons, a rehab and counseling facility.

“We want people to know that there is help out there, and so there is hope, the opioid crisis is not a hopeless crisis. That people can access care, that recovery is possible, treatment can be effective and people can move on with their lives and we can restore families and communities that way and we want to see that happen.”

Passage of HB 324 would fund this pilot program in Wilmington for two years, at $250,000 a year. Bill sponsors include Representatives Ted Davis, Deb Butler, and Holly Grange. The bill passed its first reading and is now in appropriations.

On Wednesday we’ll look at the STOP ACT - legislation that focuses on improved rules to prescribe and dispense opioid drugs.