Arlington Police Department Press Release
Frederick Ryan, Chief of Police
112 Mystic St.
Arlington, MA 02474
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016
Contact: Captain Richard Flynn, PIO
Contact: John Guilfoil
Arlington Police Respond to Three Overdoses Over Holiday Weekend
First Responders and Loved Ones Use Narcan to Revive Victims
ARLINGTON — Chief Frederick Ryan reports that the Arlington Police Department responded to multiple heroin and drug overdoses last week, from Thursday to Sunday, where all three victims were revived. Two individuals were saved by the use of Narcan, the opioid reversal drug that has been widely distributed throughout town as part of a police-driven initiative.
On Sept. 3, a 32-year-old man, who was on the brink of death, survived a heroin overdose due to a timely dose of Narcan. A loved one administered the dosage. Two days prior, on Sept. 1, the Arlington Fire Department revived a 46-year-old man who had overdosed on heroin with Narcan. A third overdose victim was revived at an area hospital.
Overdose rates have skyrocketed nationwide over the past several years, and Arlington is no exception. The town has experienced 30 heroin overdoses so far this year, compared with 19 at this time last year. However, due to the expansion of the Narcan program in town, where all first responders are equipped with the reversal drug and families and friends are provided doses free of charge, the amount of overdose deaths so far this year have decreased by nearly 2/3 — from six in 2015 to two in 2016.
“Two deaths are still too many, but I am extremely proud of the work being done by the Arlington Police Department, Arlington Fire Department and community members who have taken an active step in decreasing opioid overdoses by equipping themselves with Narcan,” Chief Ryan said. “Treatment works, and Narcan gives families and first responders another chance to help someone take back their life.”
The distribution of nasal Naloxone, or Narcan, and education on its administration and usage, is a core component of the Arlington Outreach Initiative, a police-led addiction and recovery program that seeks to help those suffering from substance use disorders. Since its launch last year, it has been modeled by police departments nationwide.
The Arlington Outreach Initiative is one of the two main addiction and recovery programs being modeled under the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.), with the other being the popular Gloucester Police Department ANGEL Initiative. The Arlington Outreach Initiative focuses on identifying and reaching a vulnerable segment of the population, while the Gloucester ANGEL Initiative encourages those suffering from addiction to come directly to the police station to be placed into a treatment program.
“P.A.A.R.I. prioritizes the distribution of affordable Naloxone to law enforcement and people suffering from the disease of addiction because it saves lives everyday,” said John Rosenthal, co-founder of P.A.A.R.I. “Every police department and family of a loved one who is addicted to opioids should have access to this life saving overdose blocking treatment.”