Data is showing efforts to curb heroin and opioid-related deaths are working in Revere. In 2015 there were 256 calls for possible overdoses. In 2016 the number dropped to 195 calls for possible overdoses.
The Fire Department received 125 calls where Narcan was used in 2016. Sixty-seven of those calls involved a person who was unconscious, and there were four times where the person could have been dead. Meanwhile, the department dealt with 151 calls in 2015 where they used Narcan.
However, while this appears to be an improvement, 2017 seems to be starting off on a rough start. In the first week of February, there were 14 opioid overdoses in Revere, and two unconfirmed opioid overdose fatalities. This increase is reportedly linked to the use of heroin contaminated with the drug fentanyl.
Mayor Brian Arrigo said tackling the issue is one his biggest priorities– citing the new Substance Use Disorder Initiatives (SUDI) office to reduce the impact of opioid addiction on Revere families. “Initial reports show that overdose calls went down 24% in 2016. That’s a good start, but not good enough. The SUD office takes a data-driven approach and works with our police and fire departments, city staff and medical professionals, knocking on the doors of each and every person we can identify that may need help battling addiction,” Arrigo said during his State of the City address Monday night at City Hall.
The SUDI Office Drop-In Center is open every Tuesday evening from 5-8 p.m. at 437 Revere St. – where people can seek support from professionals. Residents can also get Narcan at CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreen’s.
Arrigo said this year he will be launching a pilot program for middle schoolers to teach them the dangers of prescription drugs.
“With so much promise in Revere’s future, we cannot allow the opioid crisis to fall off our radar. It will remain a top priority for me and my administration. I am committed to these data-driven approaches to improving the lives of all Revere residents,” he said.