CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – The City of Charleston’s Quick Response Team (QRT) received $800,000 in grant money that will help keep boots on the ground in the fight against the Opioid Epidemic.
The QRT visits individuals at their homes within 72-hours of an overdose with the goal of connecting them with a personalized referral plan for addiction treatment. The $800,000 allows them to continue their work for another 3.5 years and also hire a full-time program coordinator.
“Which will give us the capacity to really boost our efforts, make sure we are taking every opportunity to get individuals into treatment and to make sure we are responding compassionately as possible,” says City of Charleston Director of Strategic Management, Ariela Alpert.
Corey Dean is a Charleston firefighter and paramedic that has been on the QRT since it’s start in spring of 2018. He says, “it’s having somebody there when that person is at their most desperate moment,” Dean also adds, “people, they are sick and tired of being sick and tired and at their most desperate point we are there to offer them help when they are most likely to take it.”
The team is made up of an EMS provider from the Charleston Fire Department, a Charleston police officer and a trained recovery coach. Each bringing a different skill set as they work deep in the trenches of the opioid crisis.
“My special skill set, well what I pride myself the most within these responses, is that I know what it feels like to be in recovery. I’m in recovery myself,” says Dean, who gets to see first hand the people the QRT is helping.
“One of the first responses we had on the QRT team she is now over a year clean and has a two-month-old baby boy… it goes even further than just care. there’s hope,” he says.
The grant funding also allows for more data collection and improves partnerships with local treatment centers.