Project Title: “Building City-Wide Capacity for Community and Traditional First Responders in Overdose Response”
Project Summary: San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) strongly believes that targeting our capacity building across the system of first responders is essential to increasing our ability to respond to the overdose epidemic and build long-lasting systems of support for people who use drugs. In partnership with the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD), SFDPH will take a two-pronged approach to building capacity for our first responders, including building capacity for our community members that are often the first responders in incidents of overdose.
Population to be Served: San Francisco has among the highest overdose death rate in all large counties in the US, with more than 600 overdoses in 2022 alone. A full one-third of these fatal overdoses in the City occur in single-room occupancy (SRO) housing, particularly concentrated in the Tenderloin neighborhood. Additionally, while Black/African Americans comprise just 6% of the City’s population, they make up 28% of the fatal overdoses and have an overdose death rate five-times the citywide rate. Recognizing the high overdose burden in the SRO, particularly by Black/African American decedents, the activities in this grant proposal focus on building capacity for both traditional and community first responders in these communities.
Strategies/Interventions: Our first intervention will fund the SFFD to develop training modules for emergency medical service (EMS) providers on how to recognize and respond to an overdose, field buprenorphine administration, and trauma-informed training to better prepare them to serve high-risk populations. Our complementary approach will focus on building capacity for our community first responders, particularly those within SROs. Through a cohort-based, peer-driven model, residents in SROs will complete 10 weeks of training focused on overdose response and recognition and the continuum of substance use services and treatment.
Objectives and Outcomes: Through the proposed EMS trainings, 100% of SFFD EMS providers will receive training. Each year, 100 EMS providers will receive training, for a total of 400 over the 4-year grant period. Staff will further be encouraged to connect with community-based treatment providers to further their understanding of SUD as a public health issue. This training will cover every SFFD EMS member in the City, including community paramedics, collaborators with the Street Overdose Response Team, paramedic captains, department leaders, and firefighter paramedics.
Through the SRO trainings, 20 residents will complete the training in Year 1, and 40 residents per year in Years 2-4, for a total of 140 SRO residents. While this number only reflects those SFDPH will directly train, the intent of this program is for SRO residents to gain the necessary tools to recognize and respond to an overdose and train their neighbors and peers and be equipped to share information on treatment and other substance use disorder (SUD) services available in SF. As a result, the reach of this program is multiplied several times over.
Recognizing that gaps persist in accessing naloxone in San Francisco SROs, SFDPH will purchase and distribute, through community partners, approximately 5,500 boxes of naloxone per year, for a total of 22,000 over 4 years. Additionally, SFDPH will purchase two naloxone vending machines to ensure there is consistent low-barrier naloxone in areas of high need.