Liberation Programs Mobile Wellness Van Open for Preview at Town Hall Monday, Aug 30

By Dr. Stephanie Paulmeno, Public Health Promotion Specialist, Greenwich Department of Health

Liberation Programs, Inc’s Mobile Wellness Van will begin making weekly visits in Greenwich on September 14 from 10:00am -12:00 noon, at the Horseneck Commuter Lot, but you can come preview it in front of Greenwich Town Hall on Monday, on Monday, Aug 30 between 12:00 Noon and 2:00pm.

There will be food, giveaways, and exhibitors providing community resources, all courtesy of collaboration between The Town of Greenwich, Liberation Programs, Inc. and Greenwich Together, which is a collaboration of numerous organizations serving Greenwich.

Commissioner Demetria Nelson of the Greenwich Department of Human Services is coordinating the representation of the Town’s services. The Greenwich Dept of Health will provide information as well as blood pressure and pulse oximetry checks.

Greenwich doesn’t always come to mind when thinking of places where substance abuse is an issue, but it should.

We are not protected from the maladies facing less affluent communities, and therein is another mistaken belief. Wealthy communities have their own risk factors for addiction; not least among them being the mobility and spending capacity of so many of our youths, and the ease with which one can obtain street drugs and legally prescribed prescription opiates.

Drug addiction is a problem in wealthy and less affluent communities, for the young and the old, and for people of all races and cultures. It affects those of us who have become addicted to opioids and other drugs, as well as those of us who have had to deal with the heartbreak of the interrupted lives of loved ones and friends who have become victims of addiction.

Children and adults in Greenwich have needed drug treatment programs and hospitalizations, and we have had our share of deaths.

The Greenwich Department of Social Services (now the Greenwich Department of Human Services) and Liberation Programs, Inc. prepared a detailed report on the scope of this problem in Greenwich. (An Inside Look at Opioid Use in Greenwich, 2016). It was a sobering report but many collaborating agencies, organizations and Town departments have been fighting this battle for decades.

The Greenwich United Way addressed it regularly in their Portrait of Greenwich and the United Way Needs Assessment reports. For close to 20 years Communities 4 Action (a DMHAS Regional Action Council) addressed this problem in Greenwich and elsewhere.

Greenwich Hospital has an addiction treatment unit and regularly conducts collaborative needs assessments. Liberation and other programs have provided services to the people of Greenwich for decades. Greenwich is fortunate to have this long history of strong community collaborators who have addressed this public health crisis over many years. We have had many resources and agency collaborations along the way to combat this, and now we have one more, the Liberation Program’s Mobile Wellness Van, which brings outreach services directly to Greenwich for those struggling with opiod recovery.

On the van are both a medical prescriber and a recovery coach. They can provide treatment referrals and prescriptions for Buprenorphine/Suboxone, (a medication used to reduce withdrawal symptoms and to aid in opioid-use recovery), and Narcan (a miracle drug that rapidly reverses the fatal impact of an opiate overdose). They have a harm reduction syringe exchange program, as well as many educational resources. No insurance or appointment is needed. Services are available to adults 18 years and older, and the van is also available on call.

Whether you are a service provider, a person in need, a family member or friend who would like to know how to help someone who has become addicted, or simply a citizen wanting to know more, come join us.

Dr. Stephanie Paulmeno, DNP, MS, RN, NHA, CCM, CDP, Public Health Promotion Specialist, Greenwich Department of Health