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Overdose Response Team Hits San Francisco Streets

Michael Steff
Flickr / Creative Commons

This week, San Francisco rolled out its newly formed Street Overdose Response Team focused on reducing non-fatal overdoses through a holistic approach.

City officials say the new team, also known as SORT, will respond to overdose calls and provide an immediate response from San Francisco Fire Department paramedics. The city’s Department of Public Health will have its specialists provide follow-up services.

That includes dispensing buprenorphine, which is used to treat opioid addiction. They’ll also provide rescue kits that contain the opioid-blocker Naloxone. They’ll share educational materials, and help get folks into substance use treatment.

Mayor London Breed said she hoped the new team would help flatten the curve of opioid addiction in San Francisco. Last year, the city recorded a historic high of nearly 700 overdose deaths.

For now, SORT will operate 12 hours a day. But by early next year, it plans on operating on a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week basis.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked has in print, radio, television, and web journalism.