By Jamie Rivera
Paramedic, EMS Captain
Bladen County EMS
Every day the Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians of Bladen County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) strive to make a difference in someone’s life. When someone dials 9-1-1, it is that caller’s worse day and they are relying on the professionals of Bladen EMS to render emergency medical care. This has been the traditional role of EMS; however, Bladen County EMS is now able to fill existing gaps in prevention and outreach within the county.
We submit to you, the Bladen County EMS Community Paramedic.
Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services and Administration (SAMHSA), the Community Paramedic will coordinate with resources that specialize in mental health and substance misuse to better serve the citizens in Bladen County.
Community Paramedicine is a rapidly evolving field that allows specially trained Paramedics to operate in an expanded role by assisting with public and primary healthcare, mental health, and substance misuse education. This is especially needed in rural areas, where resources are not equipped to meet the rising number of mental health and substance misuse cases. The Community Paramedic will work with area resources to connect individuals to service and treatment, thus providing a true harm reduction model.
Research has shown that overdose follow-up programs can serve as a strategic response to the increasing number of opioid overdoses within the community.
Another responsibility of the Community Paramedic will be to provide education on substance misuse and mental health by identifying potential issues that were exacerbated by isolation and lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you or someone you know can benefit from our program, contact us at: (910) 874-7327.