The Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition is passing out free wrist bands which say “Don’t Run Call 911.” The bands also list their phone number 860-888-5931. One of their harm reduction workers gave me a bag full of them to pass out. Now after treating an overdose, and giving my harm reduction spiel — Don’t use alone, Have naloxone available, do a tester shot if buying a new batch or from a new dealer, don’t mix opioids with benzos, call 911 at first sign of an overdose — I hand out one of their colorful bracelets. While we try to get everyone who has overdosed and been resuscitated with naloxone to go to the hospital, many who are now alert and oriented, exercise their right to refuse. I know some systems are allowed to leave naloxone with refusal patients, friends and families– I wish we could–but in the meantime, I have these bracelets to hand out. It is a small gesture, but the number can be lifesaving. At all hours of the day harm reduction workers will meet users in distress to help get them into rehab, give them naloxone or just clean needles. (They also pass out face masks and information about COVID testing!) The goal is to recognize where they are at along the continuum of substance use and try to keep them safe until they are ready for the next step.
Don’t Run, Call 911.