- The Stark County Health Department has received a mobile care unit to bring overdose education across the county.
- The vehicle was given to the department by the HEALing Communities Study.
- It will provide overdose education, naloxone distribution and linkages to opioid use disorder services.
Transportation is one of the biggest obstacles keeping those affected by drug addiction from getting the care they need.
The Stark County Health Department is looking to bridge that gap by bringing services into the community with its new mobile integrated care unit. Employees with the health agency plan to take the 30-foot vehicle to community events and areas in need to provide overdose education, naloxone distribution and links to opioid use disorder services.
“It’s a way to take these services to the people that need them,” said Amanda Kelly, manager of health promotion and planning at the Stark County Health Department.
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The mobile care unit has two exam rooms, a blood draw station, a bathroom and access for those who use wheelchairs. It was given to the agency by the HEALing Communities Study, a national initiative working to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths. Stark is one of several Ohio counties participating in the study, along with communities in Kentucky, Massachusetts and New York.
Kelly said the HEALing Communities Study has provided mobile units to other communities, but this is the first for the county.
Why is a mobile outreach unit needed?
One hundred and fifty-six Stark County residents died of overdoses last year, according to the county health department. In December, the department issued a warning that Stark had seen an uptick in suspected fatal drug overdoses.
Kelly said the department intends to have a full-time and part-time outreach specialist to bring the