Healthcare, Latest News

Funding needed for QRT program expansion

KINGWOOD — The Quick Response Teams (QRT) program was again the topic of discussion at Thursday’s meeting of the Preston County Board of Health.

Preston County is working to expand its Quick Response Team by finding funding to train more coaches. Currently, the county has only one coach.

Dr. Fred Conley, county health officer, said the current coach works in the Preston Memorial Hospital Emergency Room. He said whenever someone overdoses and goes to the ER the team coach contacts the patient about rehabilitation programs.

Conley said often when EMS goes out and gives Narcan to a patient and they come to, they don’t want to go to the ER. He said if a QRT coach is on hand they have a better chance of talking to the patient about the pros and cons of going into rehab.

Narcan is an over-the-counter drug that’s used to treat known or suspected opioid overdoses. It blocks certain receptors in your body that opioids bind to. Blocking receptors help reverse the symptoms of opioid overdose.

He said money for the program could come from the $600,000 opioid funds received by the county commission. Conley said two or three more coaches would allow one to be on hand 24 hours a day.

Earlier, VJ Davis, director of the Preston County Health Department, said members of the Preston County Commission contacted him about the QRT program and asked what it would cost to fund it. He said funding could come from the $599,802.64 check the commission received from the Opioid Settlement Funds. This first check represented only 24.5% of the funds due the commission.

Davis said the program would be run by Preston Prevention.

“This program (QRT) saves lives. I don’t believe you can find anything better to use the money for,” he said. “Look at the last grand jury list.”

“Drug use is on the rise nationwide. and Preston County is not immune,” Conley said. “We have increased overdoses. Methamphetamine is a real problem as well as opioids We went to every school last year and spoke about the problem.”

No other action was taken.

The next meeting of the Preston County Board of Health will be 1 p.m. May 2.