Connections Health Solutions

The Fentanyl crisis - how CRCs help

Connections Health Solutions Jul 3, 2024

With an increase in fentanyl across the globe, Connections Health Solutions’ chief of quality and innovation officer, Dr. Margie Balfour, spoke to what Connections is doing and how crisis response centers can help. 

“Part of our mission is to get people into treatment instead of in the justice system,” Dr. Balfour stated.   


The rise of fentanyl 

In recent years, communities across the globe have been grappling with an alarming surge in fentanyl use and overdoses. Its heightened potency, coupled with the difficulty in detection, has created a perfect storm, resulting in a surge of overdoses and related issues within our communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 106,699 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2021, and synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, were involved in more than 80,411 of those deaths. 

As the rise of fentanyl continues, the increased risk of overdose remains. It has become increasingly critical that individuals receive the appropriate medical intervention promptly to avoid overdose and receive the support and treatment they truly need. Often, instead of a healthcare response, individuals are met with law enforcement, hindering the delivery of proper treatment. This emphasizes the importance of redirecting individuals towards healthcare solutions.  


Collaborating with law enforcement 

Connections is working closely with local law enforcement agencies to address the fentanyl crisis and guide individuals in need of help to our centers. “The way that we do our processes are really designed to make it so that transfer from law enforcement is more likely to happen and it’s easier for them to do so. They have their own separate entrance that enables them to get them in and out really quickly,” said Balfour. “It also decreases the stigma so that other people receiving care aren’t watching them walk somebody in handcuffs past all the other people.”  

Crisis response centers act as a beacon of hope in this crisis. Rather than resorting to incarceration, which may intensify the problem, these centers focus on providing treatment. Dr. Balfour underlines the effectiveness of crisis centers, emphasizing that what individuals need is treatment, not confinement. 

The rising tide of fentanyl use and overdoses demands our attention, compassion, and action. By understanding the challenges posed by this synthetic opioid and supporting initiatives like crisis response centers, we can collectively work towards mitigating the impact of this crisis and providing hope for those in need.  



Crisis Response Center helps fight the county’s fentanyl problem (   



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