Dauphin County creates mobile case managers for drug overdose victims

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DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. – Taking aim at the alarming number of drug overdose cases, the Dauphin County Commissioners have created two new mobile case manager positions. Once the positions are filled, the caseworkers will respond around the clock, seven days a week and work to immediately get people into treatment and counseling.

“These two case managers will respond whenever and wherever an overdose is being treated and let the person know that treatment is available and encourage them to get the help they need without delay,’’ Hartwick said. “It’s critical that we get people from the emergency room directly into treatment if we are to save lives.’’

The positions are being funded through existing state and federal dollars, not through the county’s property tax funds.

“Last year our county’s emergency dispatchers handled 970 reported overdose events and that number likely doesn’t capture all the overdoses that were reported as ‘stopped breathing’ or ‘cardiac arrest’,’’ said Commission Chairman Jeff Haste. “The more people we can get into addiction counseling and treatment, the more lives we can save.’’

The commissioners and District Attorney Ed Marsico are making naloxone available to all police and county probation officers. Naloxone, or Narcan, reverses the effects of heroin and other opioid overdoses. At the county prison, staff makes sure inmates being released are signed up with treatment programs so they continue the progress in fighting addiction they made behind bars. Drug and alcohol counselors are also in every high school and middle school in the county.

“From day one, this board has been committed to improving the quality of life for all of our residents and keeping our children and families safe from drugs is an important part of living up to that commitment,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries. “If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, we want you to know that help is available.’’