County agencies launch aid for overdose survivors

WINNSBORO – Fairfield County Community Paramedic/EMS is joining forces with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, Winnsboro Public Safety and Fairfield Behavioral Health Services to implement a community outreach program that will serve as a resource in assisting overdose survivors.

The COPE (Community Outreach by Paramedicine Education) program will provide intervention services to treat substance use disorders and enhance public health.

The program is especially designed for the rural areas of South Carolina where EMS is sometimes the only link to any type of medical treatment because of location, recent hospital closures or the lack of special – and in some cases basic – services in a geographical region.

Here’s how it works…

Overdose survivors will be referred through EMS or Fairfield emergency departments for the COPE program.

Upon referral and with the permission of the overdose survivor, COPE members will discuss and plan follow-up home visits.

The COPE team – consisting of a community paramedic, peer support specialist and law enforcement – will meet the home of the overdose survivor.

The COPE team will check the individual’s vital signs and screen for needed medical attention or referrals.

The peer support specialist will provide a Narcan kit, encourage engagement with treatment and recovery services, and assess any needs of the survivor with appropriate linkages. The law enforcement officer will provide backup and support if and as needed.

The COPE Team will provide the survivor with educational/resource materials and a warm-handoff to drug treatment and peer support even if that includes onsite telehealth services or transportation to Fairfield Behavioral Health Services, a physician’s office or a hospital.

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