Mayor Tom Henry and Fort Wayne Police Department Captain Kevin Hunter highlighted the addition of two social workers to the FWPD.
Launched in August through a grant of $245,000 per year for three years that involved the federal government’s Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, and The Lutheran Foundation, the social workers were able to be hired and have the expertise and skill sets to assist with local problematic substance abuse disorder cases, which can be long-term and complex and provide help for individuals and families with treatment options.
The FWPD social workers are also involved with the Hope and Recovery Team (HART) program, which is a quick response team of FWPD officers and a peer recovery coach who work to connect people who have experienced a non-fatal overdose to treatment and recovery services.
Darcy Robins is the lead social worker and Samantha Taylor is a social worker. Robins and Taylor have been focusing on community outreach, building connections, and being part of the HART program.
This year, there have been 975 non-fatal overdoses in Fort Wayne through September, with 95 fatal overdoses through October 13 and more than 20 deaths pending toxicology results.
Non-fatal overdoses and deaths statistics:
2016: 804 and 68
2017: 1,200 and 127
2018: 1,074 and 108
2019: 829 and 144
2020: 1,243 and 145
2021: 975 (through September) and 95 (through October 13)
“City government values partnerships that can impact a community in a positive manner,” said Mayor Henry. “I appreciate and respect the work that’s being performed by the Fort Wayne Police Department and The Lutheran Foundation as we come together to address serious concerns in Fort Wayne. Our social workers are making a meaningful difference.”