Guilford County Creates New Program To Battle Opioid Epidemic
Guilford County and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro have created a community-engaged response to the opioid problem.
The program is called Guilford County Solution to the Opioid Problem, or GCSTOP for short.
The comprehensive effort uses state funds to engage people in harm-reduction practices, distribute naloxone, and include evaluation and research.
Guilford County Commissioner Jeff Phillips said GCSTOP is a critical step to save lives.
“We're hopeful and committed to providing our frontline first responders of emergency medical services, law enforcement and human services the critical resources they need to do all they can,” he said.
The program’s goal is to decrease opioid overdose deaths in the county by twenty percent in 2018.
Officials and emergency medical services say there were over 700 opioid overdose reversals and 100 verified opioid deaths in Guilford County last year.
Guilford County Chief Deputy Randy Powers said they need to get control of the opioid problem in the area.
“This particular program helps take the users to the point where they are no longer a user,” he said. “If we can dry up the demand of it, then we can possibly dry up the supply.”
GCSTOP Navigator Chase Holloman, a recovering opioid user himself, said this program will offer hope for addicts and their families.
“Most of us, if not all of us know someone in this community who has died of an overdose,” Holloman said. “I don't know about ya'll but I'm tired of burying my friends. I've lost more than I can count on two hands in one year, but there is hope, there is encouragement.”