Texas initiative aids opioid overdose survivors

Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) has partnered with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Service to initiate a new pilot program to aid opioid overdose survivors.

The survivors would quickly get treatment and services to support long-term recovery via EMS opioid response teams connecting people to prevention education and peer recovery support.

EMS responders will also follow up with patients in their homes to assist with accessing resources.

“Helping overdose survivors develop a plan for ongoing treatment and recovery will lower their risk for relapsing,” Sonja Gaines, HHS deputy executive commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services, said. “We must end the cycle of repeat overdoses and support survivors in their recovery. With this pilot program, we’re giving EMS and first responders the resources to link patients with follow up care, treatment, and support to help them recover.”

Travis County has among the highest rates of opioid-related deaths in Texas. Austin-Travis County EMS’s Community Health Paramedic team launched its Opioid Emergency Response program two years ago and plans to serve 300 people in the next year.

“Good health outcomes require services and treatment beyond the crisis point,” State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-District 14), said. “This program begins to provide the continuum of care necessary for us to address opioid use disorder in our community and help our neighbors get healthy.”

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