For years, the city of Huntington, West Virginia experienced a steady climb in drug overdoses. When it finally came to a tee in 2014, the town launched a compassion-based outreach program that has cut the rate of overdoses by more than half in less than one year.

The Quick Response Team (QRT) is a rotating group of paramedics, mental health specialists, and police officers who check up on overdose survivors within 72 hours of their overdose.

The team has found that when addicts and troubled patients are visited by city officials who express concern over their predicament, they are more likely to get better and seek treatment because they feel that someone cares.

“[First responders] are having people say to…

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