Reading Police Sgt. William Pletcher was recently honored as an American Red Cross Hero for his work with Blue CARES, a program that helps get overdose survivors into treatment. Pletcher was recognized for his commitment to Blue CARES and, in a recent WFMZ news clip, it was noted that he made 147 Blue CARES visits to overdose survivors in the City of Reading in 2021.
COCA’s Brian Kammerer accompanies Pletcher on Blue CARES visits and praised Pletcher’s dedication.
“Without Sgt. Pletcher, Blue CARES would not be happening in the city of Reading,” Brian Kammerer told WFMZ. “It’s because he makes himself available and make this a priority that we are able to go out and connect with people and their family members and offer them help.”
Blue CARES is a collaborative program between Berks County Law Enforcement and the Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA) that encourages individuals to seek treatment for addiction after being revived with NARCAN® Nasal Spray by a police officer.
Following an overdose, a COCA representative and Berks County law enforcement officer visit the home of the overdose survivor and family. Together, they engage with the survivor, offering to help him or her access treatment and/or support services. If the individual accepts help, an immediate referral is made for appropriate services. If no one is home during a Blue CARES visit, the police officer and COCA representatives leave literature about substance use disorder treatment, as well as information about resources and services available.
Since the program’s inception in Berks County in January 2019 through March 2022 there have been: