Amy Parker, peer recovery support, WKRC
addiction treatment in Cincinnati

Colerain Fire & EMS invites those struggling with addiction to new program

August 7, 2019

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Already more than a dozen people in just a few months have taken advantage of a new program run by the Colerain Fire Department.

Hannah Daws is one of them.

For years, Daws struggled with addiction and even overdosed multiple times.

"I feel lucky to be alive, absolutely," she said. "Heroin, fentanyl, it just came around when I was getting clean."

Now Daws is just one of the peer support partners for a new program at the Colerain Township Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

It's called Safe Stations.

Will Muller, Assistant Fire Chief, explained just how it works.

"Safe stations is a way for them to get connected to resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

The program is an extension of the department's outreach team, but instead of going out to neighborhoods in search of those struggling with addiction, they invite those struggling to come to them.

"Everybody here also knows that this is a disease, and we are going to do everything we can to help you engage you, uplift you, until you get the help that you need to get," said Nan Franks, CEO of Addiction Services Council.

What starts with an admission to the fire team, then a referral to the addiction council, then a screening for health concerns.

So if they do have a co-existing medical condition, or a medical condition related to their alcohol or drug use, that that'll be taken care of first.

They're then referred to an appropriate treatment partner.

Amy Parker is with Brightview Outpatient use treatment center.

"We're fortunate to be able to accept patients with or without insurance, we can assist them with getting medicaid, if eligible, and then we also work with a foundation that helps cover treatment and transportation, until insurance is active. The idea behind this is that a family member or even a person who is living an addicted lifestyle could come into the station, a judgement free zone, and have a safe place where people will receive them right where they are, and help them get the help they need."

Since both Hannah and Amy know the struggle of addiction, they know what it means to have a safe place to go for help.

"The people that didn't give up on me were the people that were already in recovery, because they understood that , just because I wasn't ready now, didn't mean I was worth giving up on. I wish that there would have been a place like Colerain to have a safe station that is judgement free, easy access, and know that I'm supported along the way," said Daws.

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