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The integral role paramedics and first responders play in the recovery process.


St. Charles County Ambulance District

with Lisa Cassidy

Kindness and compassion go a long way when it comes to providing support to anyone with substance use disorder. Lisa Cassidy, a paramedic for St. Charles County Ambulance Department and member of their Substance Use Recovery Response Team (SURRT), brings the support her patients need, along with kindness, to help start the recovery process.

Lisa and her team serve as the “gap in the system” when it comes to treating substance use. The SURRT is on-site for any overdose call in St. Charles County. Once a patient has been treated with Narcan and stabilized, the team starts the conversation around recovery.

If the patient agrees, the paramedics who are trained in addiction counseling follow up within the next day or two to get the patient involved with a treatment program. Based on the situation, patients might go meet with a counselor, enroll in an in-patient program locally or enroll in an out-of-state rehabilitation program.

Working with patients from all backgrounds, Lisa works to be a voice of compassion to all of her patients while giving them the care and resources they need. This isn’t always easy because Lisa says, “It’s been a long time since they’ve [patients] had someone care for them.”

Many of the patients Lisa and her team see do not have a support system to provide the help they need. That’s why first responders play such an integral role in starting the treatment process.

Having seen hundreds of patients to date, Lisa shares it’s key to be relatable to all patients, supportive of their needs and kind in order to show the support our community is willing to give.