At Kae Avenue elementary in the city Whitehall, the lesson on addiction is how residents can help fight the demand on opiates while the city battles supply at what they refer to as ground zero.
“Franklin County has an overdose rate in the top 10 percent and Whitehall has an overdose rate that’s 5 times higher,” said Whitehall Fire Assistant Chief Christopher Menapace.
At a special town hall meeting held at Kae Avenue Elementary Wednesday evening, the city re-emphasized its WHO program, or Whitehall’s help for overdoses. It’s a multi-tiered approach to battling narcotics addiction that includes their SAFE stations incentive, which stands for Stop Addiction For Everyone. It means detox, drug treatment and after-care for those battling addiction whether they have health insurance or not, just by walking into Whitehall’s fire station and asking for help.
One of the first through the program was a man who asked us to refer to him simply as ‘John’
“It was simply time, all about time. This person’s standing here. Get him in the ambulance. Go. It was the determining factor in me getting help,” said ‘John’.
Now clean and well in his way to rebuilding his life, at the close of Wednesday’s meeting, John got the chance to do what he never would’ve dreamt of while in the midst of his addiction-live to talk about it, encourage others to do the same and thank those who got him here.
“For them to put their hearts into it the way they are. I think it’s important to show them this is what you’re doing. This is what you’re doing,” he said.
If you’re struggling with addiction the Whitehall Fire Department promises to help you with detox and rehabilitation no questions asked, no criminal charges and no insurance required.