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Health & Science

Lakewood Introduces a New Program to Aid in Opioid Addiction Recovery

Photo of opioids
SHUTTERSTOCK
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The city of Lakewood is trying a new approach to fight the opioid epidemic.

Project SOAR (Supporting Opiate Addiction Recovery) will use peers with experience in addiction recovery to contact local residents who’ve overdosed, and suggest options for recovery. The city is also working towards expanding resources at rehabilitation facilities to get those residents immediate help.

Lakewood mayor Mike Summers says the program will give drug users a second chance.

“This past week, we had three overdoes (and) saved all three. Now 'save them?' That means save them from what? Our experience is that most of these folks will continue to be users. So at what moment in time are they going to have a realization that they need to make a significant change? And that’s the moment we’re desperately trying to capture.”

Summers says the city has applied for $300,000 in federal funding to support the program. Last year, the city recorded 141 overdoses and 31 deaths. That's nearly triple the number in 2015.