Create a Safe Station at a Fire Department

A Safe Station is a fire department that is available 24 hours a day to help those who are seeking aid with substance misuse disorder and are not in need of immediate medical attention. This service aids hospitals by taking care of patients who are seeking assistance, but are not in immediate need of medical attention.
Once an individual enters the Safe Station for assistance, trained firefighters will provide a medical assessment to determine if there is anything else medically wrong with the patient that would require further medical attention. If the person is in need of medical attention, an ambulance will be provided to transport them to the nearest facility. If no concerning medical conditions are found, the patient will turn in any drug paraphernalia or needles to the fire department’s collection area. If weapons or illegal substances are involved, a police department will be notified and involved in their collection.
The patient will have the opportunity to speak with a substance misuse coach and find a treatment plan that is right for their path to recovery.
The 24-hour service allows individuals to seek help as soon as they are ready, rather than waiting until a facility opens and risking repeated substance misuse.
According to addictionpolicy.org, the Safe Stations in Manchester, New Hampshire have “developed and implemented without any new funding” and “has connected 1,326 people to treatment between May 4, 2016 and March 4, 2017.”
Currently there are no Safe Stations in the state of Tennessee, but there are several successful stations in New Hampshire.
How can I do that?1. Reach out to a fire department with a Safe Station program for advice.2. Contact your local fire department about creating a Safe Station program.

Create Drug Education Materials

Education is key in helping to prevent the misuse of opioids. Educational kits are easily distributed throughout the community by partnering up with local community businesses and organizations. Some examples of items that can be included: pamphlets, informational brochures, magnets, bracelets, toys, pens/pencils etc. These items are anything that will draw attention to the educational information being provided. Alternatively, you can partner with a local pharmacy or other wellness-related business to display the kits at the checkout counter for customers.
How do I do that?1. Gather printed materials to include in each kit.2. Purchase giveaway items with drug education message (magnets, pens, bracelets, etc.)3. Package printed materials and giveaway items in small bag or box to be easily handed out to members of the public.4. Coordinate with local businesses to hand out kits to customers as they enter and leave the store.5. Alternatively, partner with a local pharmacy or other wellness-related business to display the kits at the checkout counter for customers to take while making purchase.

Host a Training Day for First Responders and the Community

First responders are firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). All three of these professions require continuous training throughout their career. With the use of opioids and the number of opioid overdoses, increasing, first responders need to know the most up to date information. They also need to be aware of the risks when responding to opioid-related emergency calls such as needles, the pysical environment, or even distraught family members. A training day would allow first responders to learn about the nature of opioid use and abuse and how to protect themselves, and others, from possible risk.
How do I do that?1. Determine location, date, and time of training day.2. Line up appropriate personnel to provide training (i.e., ER doctor/nurse, drug rehab counselor, etc.)3. Prepare training guides, handouts, etc.4. Create event invitations for local first responders.5. These people like to eat! Be sure to have free snacks and beverages available throughout the training day.