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Talbot County Opens Safe Stations

For Immediate Release

March 12, 2018

 

Contact:

Brian LeCates, Acting Director,

Talbot County Department of Emergency Services

(410) 770-8160 

TALBOT COUNTY OPENS TWO SAFE STATIONS 

On Monday, March 19, 2018, Talbot County Safe Stations will open at the St. Michaels Police Department, 100 S. Fremont Street, St. Michaels and the Talbot County Department of Emergency Services, 605 Port Street in Easton.  

The current opioid epidemic is calling on everyone to find better methods for getting addicted persons into treatment that can potentially save their lives.  When someone is addicted to an opioid and finally makes the decision to seek treatment, the window of opportunity for getting them help is often narrow.  In April 2017, Anne Arundel County established Safe Stations in all of their fire houses and police departments and reported great success in increasing the number they enrolled for addiction treatment while seeing a decrease in petty theft and crime.  The purpose of Safe Stations is to have a place where anyone with a drug problem can walk in without an appointment, ask for help and begin the process to connect them to the treatment they are ready to receive. 

In the fall of 2017, Corey Pack, Vice President, Talbot County Council, invited key individuals from the Anne Arundel County Safe Stations program to present to an interested group in Talbot County.  From the start it was clear that any Safe Station in Talbot County would have to be a modification of the Anne Arundel County model with a significant difference being that Anne Arundel has paid fire department staff and Talbot has all volunteer fire departments.  Anne Arundel had a grant to start their program and later received additional funding to provide services around the clock, while Talbot County is starting with existing funds among a group of partners.

Vice President Pack asked Fredia Wadley, MD, Health Officer, Talbot County Health Department (TCHD), and Brian LeCates, Acting Director, Talbot County Department of Emergency Services (TCDES), to take the lead in developing the plan for Talbot Safe Stations as he took the lead in identifying potential Safe Station sites.  The two sites identified are: St. Michaels Police Department (SMPD), 100 S. Fremont St. in St. Michaels and the Talbot County Department of Emergency Services (TCDES), 605 Port St., in Easton.  The two Safe Stations sites will be open from 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM seven (7) days per week.  The Affiliated Santé Group serves as the Mobile Crisis Team for Talbot County and will be a key player in this partnership.  At the SMPD there will usually be someone to immediately meet the Safe Station client.  However, due to staffing limitations, the SMPD may have all staff on calls and out of the station after hours or on weekends; nevertheless, a phone will be available with instructions telling the person in need who to call and what to say to start the process of getting help for their addiction.  The TCDES site on Port Street has staff on-site 24/7.  There is an intercom at the entrance of the building with a button to press that will notify staff that someone is waiting for admission.  One only has to say that they are there for Safe Station services, and they will be admitted into a vestibule and met by TCDES staff.

After a few questions, the type of assistance determined to be needed will be dispatched to that Safe Station site.  A person may need a variety of services and arrangements will begin for those services as well as peer support until treatment can be started.  Safe Stations are created to decrease the barriers to treatment; however, individuals should not bring drugs, paraphernalia, or weapons to these sites.  Safe Station staff want clients to feel safe in asking for help when they have a drug problem, but when clients pose a threat of harm or have outstanding warrants, law enforcement will have to be involved for these concerns.  It is important to note that no Safe Station client will have legal proceedings started because they are “using” illegal drugs.

Information about addiction treatment and recovery resources will also be available at Safe Station sites that can be given to individuals that may not be ready for treatment but are contemplating it. “Starting a program or service of this magnitude without additional funds demonstrates the level of concern and commitment of the Talbot Safe Station partners,” said Vice President Pack. “Our success will depend on the strength of our partnership and our commitment to serve the addicted population of Talbot County.”

For further information about Talbot County Safe Stations, please contact the Talbot County Department of Emergency Services at (410) 770-8160 or Talbot County Health Department at (410) 819-5600.

Page last modified 03/20/18 09:43:01

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