CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Lowcountry law enforcement officers are being trained to respond to overdose calls in a way that leads to recovery rather than arrest.
FAVOR Lowcountry and WakeUp Carolina have partnered to teach officers how to interact with people who have experienced an overdose and offer them support after an incident.
“It takes a village. This is a community health problem. It is not an individual health problem,” FAVOR Lowcountry Executive Director Isaac Waters said. “We want to help them do their jobs more effectively when it comes to this population that we do serve as well.”
The next step is training a cohort of certified peer support specialists and getting them out into the community to help.
“These peers will go in the ride along with the police officers as they respond to the follow up calls after someone has an overdose,” Waters said. “They’ll be knocking on the door with the officer and saying I understand you just experienced an overdose. This is what my life was like. This is what it’s like today. Here are the resources for you. Can we get you into treatment today? There are beds available for you. Are you willing to go? If so, I’m going to hold your hand until we get there.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has made these efforts challenging, but these groups are working to connect those with substance abuse disorders to available resources.