Today’s progress update comes from 2020 Grant Recipient Families Against Narcotics and their COMEBACK Quick Response Team.
Families Against Narcotics (FAN) is an organization that focuses on education towards young adults, parents, school personnel, law enforcement, judges, doctors, and other health care professionals about the dangers of misusing prescription drugs. Founded in 2007 when a group of 100 passionate people came together in response to the heroin overdose deaths of two young people from the community, the organization has grown to more than 20 chapters throughout Michigan.
FAN’s COMEBACK Quick Response Team (QRT) is a positive, evidence-based intervention program that connects a person who has experienced a drug overdose to treatment and other supportive services. The program consists of a non-threatening, compassionate team of professionals who together help individuals and families find recovery and maintain a healthy environment.
So far, the grant funds have been used to purchase supplies, technology, staff wages, QRT training, QRT merch, print materials, transportation, comfort kits, fentanyl test strips, Narcan kits, recovery coaching services, and facility costs.
FAN has also executed contracts, hired Peer and Family Recovery Coaches and trained QRTs with Berkley Department of Public Safety, Madison Heights Police Department, Troy Police Department, Oak Park Department of Public Safety and Farmington Hills Police Department. They have expanded the program throughout all QRT teams, to include prevention, to offer services to people at risk of overdosing. FAN has also put together comfort kits for distribution to QRT participants that include items that people who are actively using drugs may not purchase for themselves, like hygiene items, self-care items and condoms. Fentanyl test strip kits were put together for distribution to QRT participants. The test strip kits include 3 test strips and referrals to local agencies where participants can receive additional test kits and other harm-reduction services.
FAN also worked with an epidemiologist from Henry Ford Health Systems to create a needs assessment which will be integrated into the intake process for all QRT participants. The purpose of this assessment will be to help identify needs that may supersede a person’s desire to stop using drugs and connect them with additional community resources to address those needs, with the ultimate goal of improving their quality of life.
The Quick Response teams began community outreach, talking to people in each community about resources available to them, leaving literature behind and offering on-the-spot Narcan training. The teams completed 9.5 hours of community outreach where they discussed the QRT program and recovery resources with people on the streets and in places like hotels/motels, gas stations, or plasma donation facilities. Nineteen Narcan kits were distributed during these community outreach hours.
Needs Inventory (FKA: Needs Assessment) is now being used by all FAN QRTs in the field.
FAN created new print material to leave behind when no one is home or to mail when individuals who overdosed live in a community where there is no QRT. This new material clearly explains what QRT is and how we can help.
Although FAN has encountered some challenges with COVID, short staffed Police Departments, and the demand for first responders, they are continuing to provide education to first responders so non-QRT officers may better understand the QRT program, the disease of addiction, and can identify best practices related to Substance Use Disorder.
FAN is working on other ways to stay connected with people who are not ready for recovery through distribution of comfort items and fentanyl test strips, harm-reduction training and the needs assessment/community referral system which will be integrated into their data system shortly.
FAN staff follows up with all QRT participants who accept services. When asked how the QRT visit changed their perception of Law Enforcement, 73% of respondents said their perception of Law Enforcement improved or greatly improved. While it was a goal of this program to eradicate stigma against people with Substance Use Disorder, this program is also changing public perception of Law Enforcement, building bridges in our communities between people who need help and first responders.
Families Against Narcotics continues to build relationships with first responders and the recovery community in Oakland County. To date, 77 Narcan kits and 17 Fentanyl Test Strip kits have been distributed in the field. 149 families in the community have been offered resources and support and 36% of those families have accepted recovery services that were offered through the QRT Program. To date, 249 families in the community have been offered resources and support. 201 families accepted a conversation with the QRT and 42% of the families who accepted a conversation have signed up for recovery service(s) through the QRT program.
Impact100 Oakland County is proud of the work Families Against Narcotics is doing for the community. FAN is making lasting change with their COMEBACK Quick Response Team and we are looking forward to hearing more about their work in the future!