WV Fire Chief’s New Approach to Decreasing Opioid Overdoses

Source: zerbor - 123RF

HUNTINGTON, W. Va. — A fire chief who has been recognized for her efforts in the opioid crisis discussed her community’s unique approach in a new TED Talk.

EMS1 reports that Huntington Fire Department Chief Jan Rader, who was featured in the Emmy-winning documentary “Heroin(e),” said in her new TED Talk that “listening and being kind” is the first step to making a difference in the opioid epidemic.

Rader said, “This epidemic is far from over, but each and every one of us has a part to play in this epidemic. Just by listening and being kind to somebody, you have the ability to make a dent, [a] difference in their lives.”

Rader was placed on the Time 100 list of the most influential people due to her efforts in establishing a quick-response team that visits with patients within 72 hours of an overdose. She also helped launch ProAct, a clinic where addicts can go for help.

“Somebody suffering from substance use disorder or addiction is actually a fragile person,” Rader said. “They are hopeless and the way we treat them can make their situation better or worse. … So we need to treat them with kindness and compassion and show them that they are a good person and that they do deserve to get better because they can.”