JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF)

A program aimed at reducing overdoses in Jefferson County is increasing its efforts.

With the county seeing large spikes in overdoses and deaths in short periods of time.

I spoke to those who see how addiction affects people first hand, and how they hope the SCOPE Program will help.

SCOPE stands for Strategies for Coordinating Overdose Prevention Efforts.

TEMS Joint Ambulance District, Steubenville, Wintersville, and Mingo Junction FD currently involved in this Jefferson County program.

Their main goal is to let anyone battling this disease know that they are here to help.

“Ultimately we want to make sure that they get in the treatment and have that continuum of care so that they realize that there is someone in the county that cares about them and cares about the progress and wants to make sure that they are successful with their treatment.”

Lt. Jeffrey Cline – Paramedic TEMS Joint Ambulance District

SCOPE training classes are four hours long.

They teach how to recognize and treat an overdose, and the reasons behind why someone might be a drug addict.

Lt. Cline says a lot of factors could led up to someone being a drug user and they want to push out the stigma that comes with this disease.

“There are events that are predeterminate whether it’s family history whether it’s nature whether it’s nurture or it’s how you were raised, there’s a lot of things that factor in, childhood trauma all kinds of things that contribute to it.”

Lt. Jeffrey Cline – Paramedic TEMS Joint Ambulance District

In the last two weeks alone Jefferson County saw about 34 overdoses and almost of them resulted in death.

Officials believe the drugs were opioids.

Three of them were in Mingo Junction, and one was fatal.

Police Chief Willie McKenzie says he knows they can’t directly stop the drug epidemic, but they can do something to help.

“We can be supportive is as much as we can to support these people and try to get them help you know the best way we can and I just urge people you know not to look down on people but rather support them.”

Chief Willie McKenzie III – Mingo Junction Police Department

Each year for the next three years they will be incorporating more fire agencies throughout the county.

The group also plans to expand into Columbiana County.

This program is in Conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh, School of Pharmacy Program Evaluation and Research Unit.

Colemans Family Services and Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board are also trying to make sure Narcan is getting in to the hands of people that do suffer from substance abuse disorder at no cost to them.

You can get Narcan at the Health Department.

There is a 24 hour emergency help line anyone can call to get help.

That number is 740-996-7127.