Concord Fire Department was awarded a New Hampshire Project FIRST Grant from the NH Department of Safety’s Division of Fire Standards and Training and Emergency Medical Service through the US Department of Health & Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). We have been advocating for this grant for over a year, which we were finally awarded at the end of March 2019. “FIRST” is an acronym for First Responders Initiating Recovery Support & Treatment. This is an Opioid Use Disorder response grant. The primary goals of CFD’s Project FIRST are:
- Educate both first responders and the public about Substance Use Disorder –
specifically Opioid Use Disorder.
- Reduce opioid overdose and opioid overdose death by training people on the use of
Naloxone and to provide opioid overdose response kits.
- Collaborate with other entities to enhance the “Hub & Spoke” model to facilitate and
assist people seeking treatment for opioid use disorder.
Concord Fire Department sought this grant because over the last few years we have seen an increase in the number of opioid overdoses in our Community. In 2018 CFD responded to and treated approximately 220 opioid overdoses. The State of NH recognizes that Opioid Use Disorder and the larger picture of Substance Use Disorder has had a major impact, not only on those who are directly suffering from the issue, but on those who are directly involved in the emergency care of the overdose and the families of those individuals who are suffering from Opioid Use Disorder. Concord Fire Department is a public safety agency that responds to the needs of its Community and clearly this is a need.
We are often asked why are we giving out free naloxone for the opioid overdose patient, but we are not giving out free medications for cancer or diabetes. The response to this question is fairly straight forward. The medications for cancer or diabetes treat the actual disease. Naloxone does not treat the Opioid Use Disorder, it strictly reverses the overdose situation. It is a harm reduction strategy. The harm is the overdose death, naloxone reverses the overdose situation. It does NOT treat the underlying disease of Opioid Use Disorder.
If you would like more information on CFD’s progress on the grant, would like to obtain an opioid overdose response kit and/or training on the use of the kit, would like education or training on Substance Use Disorder, or would like to discuss options for treatment for you or your loved one, please contact our Project FIRST Director at 603-225-8666 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also view our program brochure HERE.
Project FIRST Director, Jeffrey Stewart