Charleston’s Quick Response Team- for Volunteers, it’s Personal

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“It may not work the first time, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to give up on them,” said QRT Coodinator, Stephen Samples.

When I first began talking Samples and his wife, I didn’t realize that we’re neighbors.

In fact, I went to high school with one of thier sons. 

He said, “I have children who were affected by addiction.”

Their son, Jeremy, passed away as a result of a drug over in 2012.  

My friend from high school, their other son, Jacob, will be spending a long time at Mount Olive Correctional Complex.  He admitted after an arrest nearly a decade ago, that his crimes were the result of his drug addiction.

“We’re all commited to this,” Samples said.

For nine months now, the agencies who make up Charleston’s Quick Response Team: Charleston Police, Fire and EMS, Highland, Prestera, Thomas, the DHHR and the West Virginia Officer of Drug Control Policy, have been hitting the streets.

They meet three times a week.  They find people who have overdosed, typically within the last 72 hours or so.  

It’s simple formula, really.  They just walk up to their front door and knock.

“Sometimes, it’s a surprise,” Samples said.  “But a lot of them feel like nobody is there to help.  This group is here to help. 

That’s a guarantee because this group is entirely comprised of volunteers.  They’re work is funded by a grant through the DHHR.  

To address the naysayers, Samples said, “I would look them in the eye and say, ‘What would you do if that was your son, your daughter, your mom or your dad?”

The program is still new but their successes are apparent.  200 patients are in their database and a number of those people are now in some form of treatment.

No matter what, help is out there, Samples said.  

These committed volunteers, many of whom are personally affected by the drug epidemic, are just one phone call away. 

You can reach the QRT by calling 304-926-6103 or 1-844-HELP4WV.

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