Agency being nominated
Saratoga County Sheriff's Office
What organization / program will receive the award funds
Saratoga County Sheriff's Office Second Chance Program
Tell us about how this agency has made an impact in the community. Has this agency been working on a specific community project- or have goals to complete one? Please be detailed.
The Saratoga County Sheriff's Office initiated its “Second Chance” program on August 9, 2017, as a new strategy to combat the opioid epidemic. The gap between law enforcement and people affected by substance use disorder had become increasingly evident. The need for a new operationalized approach to build (and in some cases, repair) the relationship between police and people suffering from addiction was not only necessary from a practical standpoint but from a moral one as well.
The program was originally designed to have sheriff’s deputies personally follow-up with survivors of every overdose call received by the department.
The original purposes of the follow-up were several fold and included:
• to communicate to the survivors the Sheriff’s Office’s position that substance use disorder is a legitimate medical condition and not a symptom of criminality.
• to reach out to the survivors on a human level to let them know that the
Sheriff’s Office truly does care and is invested in their well-being.
• to contribute to the de-stigmatization of substance use disorder.
• to provide a survivors a “warm handoff” to a variety of resources the Sheriff’s
Office has cultivated within the recovery community.
When necessary, the Sheriff’s Office has provided and will continue to provide transportation to persons seeking treatment to inpatient rehabilitation centers, domestic violence resources, etc.
In short, the Sheriff’s Office seeks to remove any barriers keeping someone from entering recovery to the best of its ability.
One of the unexpected results of the Second Chance program was the number of referrals made to family members or loved ones of overdose survivors. As our involvement in the recovery community grew, the availability of resources expanded proportionally. Referrals to peer support, community outreach centers, and family support navigators became commonplace.
Several referrals were also made to families or loved ones to the local chapter of Grief Recovery After Substance Passing (GRASP) after fatal overdoses.
The program was expanded after our agency applied for and received New York State Department of Health certification as an Opioid Overdose Prevention Provider in February 2018. This designation allowed our office to begin training both law enforcement and civilians in the use of Naloxone and to distribute it after completion of training.
The primary goal of this facet of the program was to ensure that family members or loved ones of a person who had suffered an opioid overdose had immediate access to this lifesaving medication. Ultimately, our department trained and issued extra Naloxone to deputies who had volunteered on every shift (in addition to what is already issued to every member) so that members of the public could be trained and provided Naloxone on an as needed basis 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have provided and will continue to provide Naloxone and training to other law enforcement agencies and civilian organizations upon request.
As of February 6, 2022, the program has followed-up with 542 persons. Of those follow-ups, we were able to make referrals to other resources 380 times or 70 % of the time. As a result of these follow-ups, Naloxone training was conducted and dispensed 50 times.
As of December 31, 2021, the Sheriff’s Office’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Provider program has dispensed 1,055 kits of Naloxone to both civilians and law enforcement.
The follow-up program was also implemented as department policy in 2021.
“... I just wanted to reach out and thank you for all the help you gave me and my wife. If not for your help I would be dead right now... we are truly grateful and hope others allow you to help them like you did us.”