With funds from the 2008 MassCALL2 grant, the City of Brockton and High Point Treatment Center joined forces to create the Brockton Mayor's Opioid Overdose Prevention Coalition. The main goal of this initiative is to save as many lives as possible in the City of Brockton of those engaging in opioid abuse or have an opiate addiction. In addition, the effort is also meant to increase the understanding of opioid overdose prevention and how addicts can get help without risk of prosecution through Brockton's Champion Plan.
Brewster Ambulance became Brockton's EMS provider on July 1, 2015, and has partnered with city leaders, fire and police to support efforts to reduce the substance abuse epidemic impacting the city. Launched on February 29th, 2016, the City of Brockton's Champion Plan is designed to provide easier access to treatment for anyone seeking help with drug addiction.
Mayor Carpenter and Senator Markey Discuss the Champion Plan
During a tour of the Stairway to Recovery office on Crescent Street in Brockton with U.S. Senator for Massachusetts Ed Markey, Mayor Bill Carpenter explained the Champion Plan:
"The Champion Plan adopts many of the principles of what Gloucester has done with Police Assisted Recovery. Anyone can walk into the Brockton Police Station and walk up to the desk and indicate they are seeking assistance for a drug or alcohol addiction or treatment, and immediately a phone call is made by the police over here to Stairway to Recovery. Stairway to Recovery is a peer support recovery center with folks in recovery who are helping other people in recovery, and it was a natural marriage.
"This was something we did a little differently than Gloucester. Gloucester uses volunteers called 'Angels,' and we already had folks right here in the downtown who were already providing this type of support for people. Almost everyone here is a volunteer, so what these folks do is a couple volunteers will go right over to the police station, greet the person, bring them back here, help support them during the time period while looking for treatment, and then we've got 5 or 6 treatment partners that have agreed to do their best to get us a bed whenever we need one. The folks here are trained in telephone intake, providing assistance, helping the person.
"Another one of our key partners is Brewster Ambulance who's our city's ambulance service. They are providing free transportation from here to whatever treatment facility we can find a bed at. So that could be right down the street at Hyde Point here in Brockton, but it could be Westborough Spectrum, it could be Gosnold down at the Cape, but the idea is that someone can actually come to the police seeking assistance, and then get this type of support and get into a treatment bed."
Reporting Remarkable Results
As of May, 2016, the Champion Plan had placed 41 people into treatment programs, with a 100% placement rate of all of the people who have asked for help. At that time, three quarters of the people admitted were still in treatment and continuing into long-term treatment.
According to Office of Mayor Bill Carpenter's Koren Cappiello, Director of Social Services for the City of Brockton, the Champion Plan has placed 132 individuals and made 165 placements as of July 19th, 2016, however, some of those individuals have been through the process multiple times. While a majority have gone to detox, some have been placed with outpatient services and some have had to go to the hospital.
The plan intends to serve all of those who ask for help, including non-residents of the city, however, Brockton residents are given preference. Those who have active arrest warrants are placed in custody to later attend court. Once warrants are cleared, they may enter the treatment program.
Veterans who are eligible for care under the Veterans Administration are taken to Brockton's Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Belmont Street for treatment, which then allows more beds to remain open at another partner rehabilitation treatment facility.
A Deeper Commitment from Brewster Ambulance
Brewster Ambulance has three Brockton locations, making serving the Stairway to Recovery offices fast for transfers to local treatment partners of the Champion Plan:
- 73 Perkins Avenue, Brockton, MA 02302
- 790 West Chestnut St. Brockton, MA 02301
- 225 North Montello St. Brockton, MA 02302
With three locations and ample coverage, there has been no negative impact on Brewster's ability to provide consistent and reliable service for the city's 911 calls and other scheduled transports. Since the city has networked with nearby treatment facilities, the transfers are more efficient and take less time.
This proximity keeps patients from being repatriated to Brockton if they are taken to a treatment center that is hours away where they don't know anyone. Keeping the program's partners local improves the patient's overall recovery outcome as well. It provides them access to a variety of services and support—paid and volunteer services that check in on them after their detox—where they build a relationship and develop more trust which enables them to stay in treatment longer, thus improving outcomes.
There are also hotlines and information provided to families to help them recognize drug paraphernalia, symptoms of rising abuse and behavior changes that indicate the patient may be abusing again. It gives them resources and support so they can also be part of a broader team helping the patient.
Brewster Ambulance is also working on the clinical side to get the Department of Public Health to approve a project waiver that allows Brewster to use pain medication alternatives such as high dose Tylenol® as opposed to opiates. If a patient is battling addiction, to receive non-opiate pain treatment options keeps them out of the category of drug use. By coming at this epidemic from all angles, we can help reduce the impact that drug addiction has on Brockton's residents and all communities who adopt similar programs.