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Mobile Response Teams Sent Out to Battle Opioid Addiction

It is an epidemic that knows no boundaries and kills thousands each year.

The opioid crisis is right in our backyard. Just last year, more than 1,600 Tennesseans died from opioid overdoses.

Now, a local organization is putting boots on the ground, not only in the Volunteer State, but across the country to help those struggling with opioid addiction.

Daniel Jensen is a recovering addict with nine years of sobriety. He was addicted to pain killers after suffering a workplace injury.

Jensen now serves as a regional director of a mobile crisis unit deployed in Tennessee.

Addiction Campuses, based in the heart of Nashville, recently sent out 23 mobile crisis units across the United States.

These mobile crisis units are setting up shop in 16 different states.

“We need people on the ground, interacting with people so we can really make a difference in people's lives,” said Brian Sullivan with Addiction Campuses.

Sullivan says once on the ground, directors assigned to each state will be able to connect those seeking treatment with options in their area.

“If someone contacts one of them and says,' I need treatment,' or a hospital says, 'I've got somebody. Can you take them?' They will then meet that person, do an assessment in person,” Sullivan explained. “If we can't take them, we will work with work with our referral partners in the community and connections they make in the community to try and get them treatment somewhere."

This effort comes on the heels of President Donald Trump's declaration of the opioid epidemic is a public health emergency.

“Our generation is getting picked off one by one by a killer,” said Sullivan. “We need community connection.

We need groups to help us get plugged in these different areas. We need to reach out to people, especially people that are hurting. We have 200 people a day dying from this epidemic. That's the equivalent of three jet liners crashing into the ground a week."

Sullivan knows overdose deaths are increasing at a rapid pace and believes this response will save lives.

“There's a small window where a person who is addicted is willing to get help, and if you miss that window it's gone,” Sullivan said. “It’s going to take all of us. We can't do it by ourselves, and that's why we are in the community making these connections. If we save one person, it's worth it."

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