Partnership in Fairfax, Virginia: Supporting People with Substance Use Disorders

By Marissa Fariña-Morse, Ed.S., N.C.C., C.A.A.D.C., L.P.C., Service Director, Diversion First, Fairfax/Falls Church Community Services Board

The Fairfax/Falls Church Community Services Board has a strong partnership with the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office and is fortunate to be providing behavioral health services inside the Fairfax Adult Detention Center (ADC). Providers working in the ADC realized that the Community Services Board had an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with individuals when they are in jail. In addition, once released, individuals may struggle to manage their reentry and recovery.

Recognizing both that the time after someone is released is a critical period and that national rates of overdose are high, the Community Services Board wanted to harness that time in jail to easily equip individuals with the tools they may need when they return to the community. Our goal was to offer naloxone to individuals who completed the training program while in jail and facilitate them leaving with naloxone in hand. We didn’t want participants to have to follow up once they left the ADC to get naloxone, as we realized that was a complication that may reduce the chances that someone had naloxone when they needed it. We also knew this program provided us an opportunity to establish a positive relationship with participants who may not be currently interested in treatment, and it might make them more likely to seek help. We worked with the Sheriff’s Office to explain and gain support for our request (an unusual one) to have naloxone and the REVIVE! kit placed in the individual’s property upon release. The REVIVE! kit, which includes all the supplies needed to administer naloxone (gloves, breathing mask, instruction card and information cards).

Participation is voluntary. Participants may seek this training because they, their friends, or their loved ones are using opioids. We encourage participants to share information about the trainings we offer in the community so that others may follow up get trained too and save lives. To date, we have trained and provided naloxone to 217 individuals at the ADC since the program was launched in January 2018.

Recognizing that the time after someone is released is a critical period and the reality of high national rates of overdose, the Community Services Board harnesses the time in jail to equip individuals with tools they may need when they return to the community.

GAINS

The views expressed by the blog post author are their own and do not necessarily represent the official views of Policy Research Associates, Inc.

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