Columbus City Council recently voted to invest more in an innovative program to help connect people who overdose with treatment.
Council this week provided two new vehicles to help the Rapid Response Emergency Addiction and Crisis Team reach overdose victims more quickly. The teams are made up of a firefighter, a police officer, a paramedic and a social worker.
Steve Martin of the Columbus Division of Fire says their job is to offer support and services to the patients.
"In the past, we weren’t able to address that," Martin says. "So they would go right back to their supplier, their dealer, and get more drugs, heroin, and we would run on them several times, sometimes twice in the same day."
Martin says that before the RREACT team was created, paramedics were limited to simply giving an overdose victim Narcan.
"The typical response to that was just to take care of the moment, take care of that overdose in the moment, but not do anything to begin a treatment program, which would prevent them from doing it again," he says.
Martin says the team used to spend valuable time searching for a vehicle to take on runs. Now they can have multiple teams on the road at the same time.
The vehicles cost about $65,000 together.