In Richmond as elsewhere, first responders are on the front lines of the battle against opioid abuse. Their tireless efforts have helped many men and women to survive overdoses of heroin, fentanyl and other narcotics. However, even the memory of a near-death experience is often not enough for opioid users to defeat the addiction that grips them. Sadly, emergency medical technicians, police officers and other first responders sometimes find themselves making a return visit to try to save a person that they had previously rescued.
To try to break this cycle, the Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) and Richmond City Health District (RCHD) have launched a campaign known as the First Responders for Recovery that offers several types of assistance in order to reduce the opioid problem that afflicts the city. The campaign includes:
- Working with a peer recovery specialist — Courtney Nunnally, who has suffered from opioid addiction and spent time behind bars, serves as the program’s peer recovery specialist. Her firsthand experience with the difficulties caused by heroin and other drugs gives her a unique empathy with addicts, helping them understand their problem and how to defeat it.
- Guidance for first responders — In a news conference announcing the program, Ms. Nunnally spoke about how important it is for paramedics to speak with opioid users in a manner that encourages them to take the next step. If the patient signs a release form that allows the ambulance workers to share their information, Ms. Nunnally reaches out to them within 48 hours.
- Connection with addiction programs — By bringing together the RAA, RHCD and someone with real-world knowledge of opioid addiction, the campaign’s goal is to ensure that people struggling with substance abuse problems will understand the resources that are available. Already two individuals who signed release forms have entered treatment programs for their opioid addiction.
Many cases of opioid addiction can be traced to the actions of pharmaceutical manufacturers. If you or someone you love has suffered because of prescription opiates, legal relief may be available.
Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban represents clients in mass tort actions against the makers of prescription opioid drugs such as Oxycontin, Percodan, Dilaudid and Percoset. To discuss your options in a free initial consultation, please call (888) 351-1038 or contact us online. Our offices are in Virginia and the Carolinas.