KING CITY — Youth Recovery Connections and Central Coast Overdose Prevention have pledged $15,000 in grant funding to Mee Memorial Healthcare System, one of numerous partners within the Tri-County EMS Buprenorphine project.
The revolutionary EMS Buprenorphine (EMSBUP) model was created in the pursuit of reducing mortality among individuals struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD). The model consists of two components:
- Initiating buprenorphine (a highly effective yet often difficult-to-access medication for treating OUDs) treatment in the prehospital setting by paramedics; and
- Connecting EMSBUP patients with hospital-based substance use navigators (SUNs), who conduct regular follow-ups and help such patient’s access resources and services most appropriate for their circumstances.
The Tri-County EMSBUP builds on the original concept by uniting providers across the Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties — that is, county EMS agencies, hospitals, community-based organizations, the contracted emergency ambulance provider AMR, and peer support specialists with “lived experience” — under a single collaborative.
The EMSBUP collaborative was recently awarded funding through the CARESTAR Foundation’s Transformation and Innovations Grants Program.
Youth Recovery Connections (YRC), in partnership with Central Coast Overdose Prevention (CCODP), the collaborative’s nonprofit fiscal agents for the grant program, pledged $15,000 to Mee Memorial Healthcare System for medication-assisted therapy support. In honor of Red Ribbon Week, a check in the amount above was presented to Mee Memorial on Oct. 26.
Currently, the Tri-County EMSBUP has seen over a dozen successful buprenorphine administrations and linked several patients to local resources and services since the project’s launch in May 2023. This funding will ensure the program’s continued success as well as its improvement in both stages of the EMSBUP model.
“This collaborative allows paramedics the ability to administer buprenorphine in the pre-hospital setting, relieves the symptoms of withdrawal, initiates Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT), and most importantly links patients with a hospital emergency department to navigate substance use needs. The level of collaboration amongst all three counties has been invaluable,” said Jesse Allured, the Tri-County EMSBUP project coordinator for CCODP.
Michael Salinas, executive director of YRC, mentions the remarkable impact of the Red Ribbon campaign in reducing the stigma associated with discussing substance use.
“This is why we are filled with excitement as we commit ourselves to this pledge during Red Ribbon Week,” Salinas said. “Our aim is to demonstrate that our providers and community leaders from different sectors and regions are deeply committed to addressing these conversations. We are dedicated to ensuring that substance use healthcare remains accessible and equitable for all.”
YRC is a Hollister-based nonprofit that provides prevention and intervention services to those struggling with substance use disorder. Although YRC provides services to those of all ages, its primary goal is to help youth recover and regain their independence and wellbeing through healthy lifestyle changes by treating them as the whole person.
CCODP is a Tri-County based nonprofit that focuses on addressing substance use realities through harm reduction strategies, treatment options and community support services in the greater Monterey Bay communities. Its goal is to empower individuals and communities to make informed choices about their health, promoting a safer and healthier community while reducing substance use harms.
“We hope to contribute to the California Bridge model, one that dramatically lowers barriers to treatment by eliminating medically unnecessary obstacles and quickly provides patients with what they are seeking — immediate relief from withdrawal,” said Dr. Reb Close, emergency and addiction medicine physician and co-founder of CCODP. “The EMSBUP Collaborative supports our goal to help rehabilitate those who suffer from opioid use disorder and helps to prevent future opiate misuse, opiate overdoses and subsequent opiate-related deaths.”