What is Plymouth County Outreach?
Plymouth County Outreach (PCO) was developed through the leadership of Public Safety in collaboration with Community Coalition and the Faith Based subcommittees of the Plymouth County Drug Abuse Task Force.
PCO fosters an innovative law enforcement/non-law enforcement collaboration that includes the District Attorney's Office, the Sheriff's Department, 27 police departments, Bridgewater State University, five major hospitals, recovery coaches, family support groups, District Court Probation, the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative and community and faith-based coalitions.
The primary aspect of the program is overdose follow-up by linking individuals and families to community drop-in centers run by PCO HOPE.
We spoke with Sarah Cloud, Director of Social Work, BID-Plymouth, about PCO.
Q. What is project outreach?
A. Project Outreach started on December 1, 2015 in the town of Plymouth and was led by Chief Michael Botieri of the Plymouth Police Department to address the opioid epidemic. BID-Plymouth was the lead hospital along with other community partners such as High Point Treatment Center and Gosnold. We started doing follow up visits with recovery coaches or clinicians the day after an opioid overdose.
Q. What are the PCO HOPE drop-in centers?
A. The drop-in centers are held once a week at various sites around Plymouth County. They have many different resources available to families and individuals struggling with addition. They will have access to support organizations, free Narcan training and kits, recovery coaches, dinner, anything they might need. Individuals seeking recovery treatment can also attend the drop-in centers and they will help you find a bed that night.
Q. What is the process of doing a follow-up visit?
A. There would be a 911 call in the community and Narcan would be administered to reverse the overdose. The person would be brought into our emergency room and the patient would be offered an assessment and linkage with treatment by our clinicians. About 50% of patients accept treatment; the other 50% goes back out into the community. It’s those people who go back out into the community who PCO was designed to help by going to their home the next day – a plain clothed police officer and a recovery coach will offer them and their family support and help getting into treatment.
Q. How effective is project outreach?
A. In the first year of doing these follow up visits, 85% of people who were eligible were linked with treatment from that follow-up visit. It also gave us access to family members, which we didn’t have in the emergency room, and because they are suffering themselves, we can offer them support as well. We let them know about our drop-in centers and encourage them to attend those.
Sarah Cloud, MBA, MSW, LICSW, sits on an opioid taskforce with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department. She acts as co-chair of the medical subcommittee of that task force. She is also the Vice President of PCO HOPE. She visits the Plymouth drop in centers where she provides complete oversite. She is also available as a clinician and will help with any additional assistance needed with mental health concerns or finding treatment.
For more information visit https://www.plymouthcountyoutreach.org/ or http://ebhopes.net/drop-in-centers/