Connections Tucson Helps Fight The County's Fentanyl Problem

Crisis Education
May, 31 2023 Margaret E. Balfour, M.D., Ph.D

Dr. Margie Balfour: Connections Tucson Helps Fight the County's Fentanyl Problem

Discover how Connections Tucson crisis stabilization center is effectively combating Pima County's fentanyl problem. Learn about their innovative strategies and comprehensive approach to crisis management and stabilization, and see how they are making a positive impact in the fight against this dangerous opioid epidemic.

Dr. Margie Balfour spoke with Tucson's 13 News about the rise of fentanyl use and overdoses in the community and how Connections Tucson partners with members of the community and law enforcement to combat the problem and get people the right care, right when they need it. The goal is to avoid having people end up in the wrong place instead of getting treatment.

"Part of our mission is to get people into treatment instead of in the justice system," said Dr. Margie Balfour, chief of quality and innovation for Connections Health Solutions.

"Instead of getting a healthcare response, which you would expect for other types of health emergencies, you're getting law enforcement instead of a treatment response," said Balfour.

Connections Tucson is a better option in these situations.

"A crisis center is a much better option than going to jail because most people what they need is treatment, they don't need to be locked up," said Balfour. "If you just continue to lock people up for their substance use addiction, they're going to keep having the same thing happen to them."

We have our peer support staff who have experience with substance use. They're able to engage with people and tell them about their own experience and what worked for them. We've got 24/7 nursing and psychiatric coverage where we are able to start treatment," said Balfour. "Then our case managers who are able to interface with families and clinics and get people connected to the services they're going to need when they leave.