New Philadelphia opioid response team aims to get overdose victims in treatment

PHILADELPHIA -- A new opioid response team in Philadelphia is pairing paramedics with social service case workers with the goal of getting overdose survivors into treatment.

City officials unveiled the new EMS response unit known as AR-2 on Wednesday. The Philadelphia Fire Department SUV hit the streets in April, working with a firehouse in the Kensington section of the city - an area particularly hard-hit by the opioid epidemic.

Philadelphia's opioid crisis is among the worst in the U.S., with more than 1,100 fatal overdoses in 2018.

Since the pilot program launched, the unit engaged 25 people in first 6 weeks, six people accepted treatment and others accepted free naloxone and literature on treatment options.

It's a partnership between the Philadelphia Fire Department, the department of Public Health and the city's Behavioral Health department.
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