It’s not just about the naloxone; it’s about the relationship.
That’s the approach of Melissa Moya and Mike Milligan, the duo running Santa Fe County’s new harm-reduction unit, a pilot initiative that aims to prevent people who have experienced a nonfatal opioid overdose from becoming another statistic.
“We have all this information on what addicts do and how harmful they are to families,” Moya said, “but what about what causes them to be this way? There’s not a lot of education on that — or how to help.”
In June, the Santa Fe County Fire Department rolled out the pilot program, in which Milligan and Moya visit the homes of people who have survived overdoses and give them access to naloxone, better known by the brand name Narcan — an antidote to opioid overdoses — as well as education. And, if the patient requests it, access to treatment programs.
“We leave it open to what they might need,” Milligan said. “But we don’t force them to get treatment. There has to be a personal decision there.”