One more tool in the toolkit in Eastern Panhandle’s fight against opioid abuse

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – It’s one more tool in the toolkit.

Berkeley County Recovery Resources Coordinator Kevin Knowles said a team forming in the Eastern Panhandle may offer addicts and their loved ones more than just hope.

Knowles was a guest on MetroNews affiliate WEPM’s Panhandle Live Wednesday to talk about a multi-pronged approach to fighting addiction in the Eastern Panhandle.

Since the Recovery Resources program began in 2016, Knowles has reported the overall rates of overdose in the county have dropped.  He knows the work isn’t finished yet.

Knowles said there’s already a peer recovery coaching effort underway as well as a concerted effort to reach inmates at the Eastern Regional Jail.  Teams are frequently out doing prevention work at area high schools and middle schools

Now, he said, a new tool is taking shape.  The “Quick Response Team” getting started through the Eastern Panhandle Recovery Coalition will mean that within 48 to 72 hours after an overdose call, someone will be back by to check on the user.

“Someone from EMS, someone from law enforcement, and a recovery coach; and in some cases, someone from the faith-based community,” Knowles said.

He said these visits allow family members and the addict to understand next steps and hear what sorts of resources are available.

“Family members have somebody they can talk to; they have an opportunity to be  trained on Narcan in case, God forbid, something should happen in their home.   The individual is now talking to a peer – someone who has been through what they’ve been through.”

Knowles said a similar program in the Huntington/Cabell County region has resulted in more addicts seeking treatment.

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