Inside the Mobile Opioid Response Unit on Thursday South Bend. Staff photo by Robert Franklin
Inside the Mobile Opioid Response Unit on Thursday South Bend. Staff photo by Robert Franklin
SOUTH BEND — The St. Joseph County Health Department will soon take drug treatment to the streets with its new mobile response unit.

The vehicle is the size of an ambulance and will carry a social worker, a public health nurse, a recovery coach and a licensed clinician. They will provide on-the-spot treatment for opioid addiction, as well as counseling and a connection to other sources in the community. It’s all part of an effort to expand drug treatment services and fight the opioid epidemic.

“We’re excited to be able to do more. The goal is to deploy resources where they are lacking,” said Robin Vida, director of health education for the health department.

The mobile response unit is expected to be out by the end of the month. It will have some set locations but the department also plans to use naloxone hot-spot maps to determine which areas are most in need. The map is available to the public on the Indiana State Department of Health’s website. It tracks the areas where first-responders administer the overdose reversing drug.

While the team will not respond to 911 calls for overdoses, it will carry 50 dosages of naloxone at all times.

“The big draw is that when there is an uptick in naloxone use, or an identified need for resources, we’ll be able to deploy this,” Vida said.
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