Flagler Cares celebrated the first anniversary of the Flagler County Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORe) initiative with an open house and a gift to one of its partners in the program.
“Together, we’re making a lasting impact on the health and well-being of our community,” said Flagler Cares Chief Innovation Officer Jeannette Simmons, who is the program coordinator for Flagler County CORe.
In the year since the county received a $1.2 million grant from the Florida Department of Health to establish the CORe, 154 people have participated in CORe’s recovery services, with 89 currently enrolled.
The Department of Health in Flagler County selected Flagler Cares to coordinate multiple agencies that work together to treat and care for people during each stage of recovery.
The program is being funded by the Florida Department of Children and Families and LSF Health Systems.
After the Nov. 7 open house at Flagler Cares' offices, Flagler Open Arms Recovery Services held a ribbon cutting in the City Market Place parking lot for the RV — Recovery Vehicle — that Flagler Cares provided.
The RV will allow Flagler OARS to bring services to people who might not have transportation.
One of the big barriers to recovery is transportation. They can’t get to a doctor or therapist, so we said, ‘Let’s go to where they are and bring services there.’”
— PAM BIRTOLO, Flagler OARS executive director
“One of the big barriers to recovery is transportation,” said Pam Birtolo, Flagler OARS’ executive director. “They can’t get to a doctor or therapist, so we said, ‘Let’s go to where they are and bring services there.’”
Services include peer support, HIV and Hepatitis C testing and Narcan distribution. Flagler OARS also hopes to partner with the Department of Motor Vehicles to provide ID cards.
Flagler OARS has received permission from the county to provide services at the county’s parks. The RV will stop weekly at Hidden Trails Park in Bunnell to provide peer services and distribute Narcan, Outreach Lead Eric Hoeni said.
“All these different agencies want to get to people, but the people can’t get to them,” Birtolo said.
Other partner agencies and organizations involved in the CORe initiative include Flagler County Fire Rescue Community Paramedicine and Outreach Community Care Network.
Since the start of the initiative, Community Paramedicine has administered 240 in-field doses of buprenorphine, a medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders to help control cravings, paramedic Tracy Farmer said.
The program then progresses to include peer recovery services, behavioral health, housing and social care navigation, psychiatric evaluation and services and group counseling and support.
Flagler Pharmacy Manager Pat Patel attended the open house. The Flagler Pharmacy in Flagler Beach provides free flu shots and COVID vaccinations for uninsured patients, he said.
Simmons thanked former DOH-Flagler administrator Bob Snyder for reaching out to Flagler Cares to coordinate the program. She also thanked Flagler Cares Chief Executive Officer Carrie Baird “for saying, 'Yes, let’s do this!'”