Collier County EMS hands out fliers to help those dealing with alcohol, drug abuse

Published: December 11, 2019 6:00 PM EST
Updated: December 11, 2019 5:58 PM EST

Drug and alcohol abuse spikes during December and the holiday season. One Collier County group is doing its best to help keep those numbers down.

New this year, Collier County EMS is distributing fliers that say “Your Life Matters” at the top. They’re designed to save lives during one of the deadliest times of the year for drugs and alcohol.

Anthony Maro is a captain with Collier County EMS and no stranger to responding to drug and alcohol overdoses.

“A lot of times, the family and/or the patients have no idea who to call for help,” he said.

So he, along with the Collier County Community Drug Response Team, developed a resource sheet to help addicts and families get the help they need. They started handing them out in May.

Flyer distributed by Collier County EMS (WINK News)

“We can’t have a person asking for help call one person and be put on hold,” said Maro.

“When it comes to saving lives with the opioid epidemic, seconds and minutes are crucial,” said Adam Armstrong who lives in Lee County. He’s a recovering addict himself and has been sober for more than three years.

“The thing that got in my way was lack of resources,” said Armstrong. “It was lack of information.

But now, this list is getting that information to the community that needs it the most.

“Yes, this list can save lives,” said Armstrong.

That’s something Brend Iliff, the executive director at Hazelden Betty Ford Naples, has been doing for years.

“Our healthcare system is overwhelmed with people with substance problems,” she said.

Last year alone, the Florida Department of Health says 57 people died due to drug poisoning in Collier County. That number was nearly four times higher in Lee County.

“People get lost,” said Maro, but he hopes this simple sheet of paper can help people find their way to a better life during the holidays and start fresh in the new year.

“I don’t want to see another person die because of overdose,” he said.

Maro says the fliers are available in English, Spanish and Creole in Collier County. School counselors have them along with EMS workers and sheriff’s deputies.

Fliers in all three languages are available below: