WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas -- Williamson County's Mobile Outreach Team will now contract directly with the state of Texas to continue to provide opioid response in the area.
- Mobile Response Team formed as response to uptick in opioid-related calls
- Paramedics have dispensed 18,000 NARCAN kits
- 25 lives saved so far
The pilot program began in the spring of 2018 when paramedics from the team noticed an uptick in opioid-related calls.
Over the span of the year and half, paramedics have dispensed 18,000 NARCAN kits, which in turn have saved 25 lives. The kits are given to other departments, organizations, and individuals struggling with addiction.
Mobile Outreach Team paramedics often monitor when EMS responds to opioid overdoses. A team member then reaches out to the patient and offers resources to help with their addiction. There are currently about 100 people in the program.
Paramedic Heather Clark believes the team helps to create an environment where patients feel comfortable.
"There are people that need help, but they don't have the first clue of even a phone call to make to get help," she said.
Andre Luong rejected help for many years while battling a heroin addiction. A few months ago, he overdosed three times within a two-week period.
His mom brought him back to life with the NARCAN she received from the Mobile Outreach Team.
"As a parent, you want to protect them and it got to the point that he didn't want us to protect him. If it wasn't for the outreach, I don't know what I would have done. I think he would have been gone," said Marianita Luong.
Finally, Andre Luong agreed to go into treatment after getting to know the team.
"One of the questions they asked him: '[Do you think] you are depressed?' And in that moment he said, 'Yes, I am.' In that moment, I could see in his eye that he wanted to change," Marianita Luong said.
Andre Loung went through treatment at Austin Recovery and is now living in a sober living house, continuing his recovery process. He wants to eventually become a mentor for other people struggling with addiction.
Williamson County will receive $500,000 from the Health and Human Services Commission. Receiving the funds directly will help to spread out services throughout the county. The funds will go towards NARCAN and the paramedics' salaries.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, call 512-864-8277.