Since 2015, Jennifer Mason and her staff have been working to respond to the opioid epidemic in Butler County with an opiate task force. Jennifer is the Fort Hamilton Hospital EMS Coordinator and the Founder of Fort’s Opiate Recovery Task Force (FORT) and its Golden Ticket Program, a program for addicts who come into the hospital’s ER for overdose treatment.
In 2008, Jennifer found out that her own son was struggling with an opioid addiction. “We suspected he might have been dabbling in some things, but never anything quite like [opioids],” says Jennifer. “The roof hadn’t been blown off this epidemic at the time. So the information wasn’t out there.” Since that time, she has become very involved in her community in the fight against the opioid epidemic.
In April 2015, Jennifer heard about the Colerain Township recovery resource packet and task force team. Thinking of the scarcity of resources during her son’s battle with addiction, she decided to implement a similar resource packet in Butler County. She describes what the recovery resource packet is all about. “It identifies resources for the addict such as where they can go for recovery, what addiction is and what narcan does, all with a hometown feel,” says Jennifer.
After putting together the packet, they decided to focus on outreach by creating the Golden Ticket Program. Jennifer explains how the program works by saying, “if they want treatment, we’ll sign them up and we’ll visit them outside of the hospital arena.” The team who visits the address consists of a social worker, a law enforcement officer and Jennifer herself. Others who sometimes go include a hospital chaplain and a pharmacist. The team currently goes out in the community every Thursday.