SMART’s Director of Partner Services and Operations, and overdose prevention volunteer, Ann-Marie Reid Richardson
April 22, 2016 – Brown University School of Medicine recently hosted inter-professional training meetings to address overdose prevention methods. This event brought together students to provide instruction and facilitate overdose response practice groups. One important overdose prevention method being taught is the administration of naloxone.
SMART’s Director of Partner Services and Operations, Ann-Marie Reid Richardson has been volunteering with Rhode Island Medical Reserve Corps and NOPE-RI since 2009. For this gathering she provided naloxone training for attendees and participating organizations; The RI MRC / NOPE-RI, The Drug and Overdose Prevention & Rescue Coalition, in addition to Rhode Island College, University of Rhode Island, and Brown University Medical School. Multidisciplinary teams of medical students, pharmacy students, and nursing students were educated on recognizing the symptoms of overdose, how to prevent overdose, and how to revive victims of overdose until emergency medical care can be administered. When asked why she volunteers Ann-Marie said, “Participating and volunteering keeps me involved in the communities directly served by our partners. It is my way of giving back.”
The past few years have generated the largest number of fatal overdoses in our nation’s history. SMART is proud to support volunteer efforts that positively contribute to the recovery from the ongoing opiate epidemic.
Evergreen Treatment Services ( ETS ) Executive Director Molly Carney and Research and Training Manager K. Michelle Peavy wrote an article entitled “A lifesaving drug for opioid addicts, but it’s not easy to get” that was published in the Seattle Times. It detailed their experiences in the treatment field; the importance of Naloxone (Narcan) and the pressing need for a shift in our nation’s perception of “addicts.”
Often reported in the news Naloxone (Narcan) is helping to save the lives of people who would otherwise succumb to overdose. The regulations about obtaining this life-saving medicine are hopefully expanding to other categories of people besides police and EMTs who are likely to need to administer Naloxone. Nevertheless, ETS makes the point that the focus should be on the public’s perception and treatment of people affected by addiction.
ETS Training Manager K. Michelle Peavy
Funding of recovery support is often outweighed by public opinion that finds it’s ‘not my fault, not my problem’. Looking at the associated costs of treatment, the taxpayers may prefer to have their tax dollars spent on projects or causes that are perceived to be more deserving. However, it is important to consider the cost of not providing treatment. Whether or not one feels that the community should be responsible for helping addicted individuals, one should not outweigh the very real and steep costs associated with individuals who are not in treatment; ER visits, jail time, etc. According to the State Department of Social and Health Services, “the risk of felony conviction is 83 percent lower for those in methadone treatment for more than one year, compared to opioid addicts who are untreated.” The National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) estimates that illicit drug abuse costs our nation over 193 billion dollars annually in the form of crime, lost work productivity and healthcare.
In short the authors deduced that, “We need an integrated approach, which includes expanded access to treatment, to drive down rates of overdose and address opioid addiction.”
“Evergreen Treatment Services is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which has been delivering evidence-based addiction treatment services in Western Washington since 1973. Since our founding, we have earned a nationwide reputation for excellence in our work. Our interdisciplinary team of professionals includes clinicians with advanced degrees in medicine, psychiatry, nursing, psychology, social work, and counseling.
ETS uses a comprehensive approach to treatment which combines medication assisted treatment with wrap-around services such as counseling, mental health care, and case management services.