The local firehouse is not the exact place one would expect to get help with a substance use problem. In Nashua, New Hampshire, however, a new program known as Safe Stations is making this happen.
The concept is simple. The local fire department is trying to make it possible for people to deal with their addiction when they are not in dangerous situations, taking care of the opioid use while individuals are still safe before it gets so that they can avoid getting into trouble in the first place.
Frequent 911 calls asking for help to deal with opioid use seems to have motivated this move, and people in the area note that it seems to be yielding good results. According to Scott Slattery, director of residential services at Harbor Homes, these stations provide people who find themselves struggling with opioids problems, a convenient place for to get help without being judged or stigmatized. Harbor Homes is a not-for-profit social service in Nashua.
While a good number of residents are already benefitting from the Nashua Safe Station program, this is not the first time such an initiative is being launched. Six months before this program, something similar was created in Manchester. And given that opioids overdose is a serious problem these days, local officials have been excited to see the problem expand to other cities. The program has reportedly made firefighters in Nashua a lot busier, and has significantly affected the kinds of calls they now receive regularly.
The initiative seems to be praised in different cities, and it would not be surprising to see it expand to different parts of the world. Opioid overdose is actually a big problem all around the world and if the Safe Station program is going to do something about the phenomenon, then maybe it is worth giving it a chance.