Essex County law enforcement and social service agencies have launched a new website designed to make it easier for those battling substance use to find the resources they need.
The website, Essex County Outreach, is a collaboration between all 34 Essex County police departments, the Essex County sheriff, and partners at social service agencies. It contains information, resources and tools to help support individuals battling substance abuse and mental and behavioral health issues.
Program Director Dani Sinclair, a detective for the Newburyport Police Department, said she first began thinking of creating the initiative a few years after attending a conference and hearing about other counties using a similar outreach tool.
Essex County Outreach uses the Critical Incident Management System (CIMS) database to identify individuals in a community who are at high-risk or experienced an overdose, and then works with substance use disorder professionals, law enforcement, licensed clinicians, social workers, and recovery coaches to follow up with that person and offer support services. The goal is to reach out within 72 hours of a report.
In a county that has such “a broad range” of communities from larger cities to small towns that don’t see as many overdoses, Sinclair said, the outreach program allows for departments to build partnerships when needed.
All of the agencies from law enforcement to social services are now not overlapping as they work to get someone help.
“The whole purpose is to have all the communities on one page together,” Sinclair said.
Looking ahead, Sinclair hopes other agencies will also join the collaborative, including the courts system and hospitals. She also hopes to bring in more support services for children who have been in a home where there was an incident.
The website, EssexCountyOutreach.com, offers a range of information on harm reduction, treatment options, and resources for family friends, friends, veterans and employers.
It was designed by John Guilfoil Public Relations Web Developer & Project Manager Kristen Potter and Website Specialist Katelyn Goddard.