Report: Safe Station a ‘welcome and effective response to prolific opioid crisis’

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Safe Station doors remain open to all seeking help. FILE PHOTO

MANCHESTER, NH – The Center for Technology and Behavioral Health at Dartmouth College recently announced their summary of findings following a seven-month study of the Safe Station program in Manchester.

Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), this study sought to identify the Safe Station program’s key components and characterize the workflow and partnerships that support the Safe Station program at the Manchester Fire Department (MFD).

Study participants included seven team members from Dartmouth College who conducted onsite observations from September 2017 to April 2018. Interviewed study participants included:

  • 29 MFD firefighters and leaders
  • 49 individuals seeking help at Safe Station
  • 6 local emergency department staff
  • Four local ambulance staff from American Medical Response (AMR)
  • Six staff of Serenity Place

Key Takeaways:

In the midst of the study, Serenity Place closed. The study team evaluated the evolution to the new model and reported:

  • “Clients believed it was quicker”
  • “MFD and AMR staff said it was a lot better because of the stability, experience and medical staff at new treatment partners, as well as the rapid arrival of Lyft.”
  • Clients feel the program is engaging and effective
  • “From early childhood, we were raised to trust firemen […] they save people for a living. So going there was comfortable.”
  • “[Clients] felt safe and that their privacy was protected, and they got help getting into a treatment facility the moment they wanted it.”
  • Safe Station is believed to be sustainable in Manchester.
  • “There was strong agreement across stakeholders that Safe Station is among the most helpful resources in the Manchester, N.H. community.”

“We can’t talk about the success of Safe Station without talking about the people who make this amazing program work,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “The men and women at the Manchester Fire Department work tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of people seeking help through Safe Station. Our firefighters, alongside American Medical Response, Granite Pathways, the Farnum Center, Elliot Hospital, Catholic Medical Center, the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, Makin’ It Happen and others have developed a system that is saving lives. Today, it only takes an average of nine minutes to get an individual through Safe Station, and takes an average of two days to get someone into treatment. I applaud everyone who has put in countless hours to get Safe Station to where it is today. Because of this dedication, the Safe Station Program and Manchester’s Treatment and Recovery Network is saving lives.”

Read the full report below.