The Police Chiefs of Plymouth County are pleased to announce that Plymouth County Outreach (PCO) has released the data from its 2018 Annual Report, showing an 18% decrease in fatal overdoses and a 13% decrease in non-fatal overdoses in Plymouth County, compared to 2017.
“We are seeing a drop in the number of fatal overdoses in the county, which is a positive step in the right direction,” East Bridgewater Police Chief Scott Allen said. “One overdose death is one too many, so we still have our work cut out for us. But the numbers are trending in the right direction, which means more individuals suffering from substance use disorders are accessing treatment.”
Overdose data from all 27 communities in Plymouth County was entered into the PCO Critical Incident Management System throughout the year in 2018. The data was then analyzed and interpreted by Kelley Research Associates.
Fatal and Non-Fatal Overdoses
In 2018, there were 121 fatal overdoses in Plymouth County. There were 147 fatal overdoses in 2017. The vast majority of the fatal overdoses in 2018 (98%) involved a known or suspected opioid. There were only three fatal overdoses that did not involve an opioid.
The number of non-fatal overdoses also fell year-over-year. In 2018, there were 1,338 non-fatal overdoses, compared to 1,529 in 2017.
The hardest impacted communities with people suffering overdoses in Plymouth County in 2018 were:
- Brockton – 661 (45%)
- Plymouth – 168 (12%)
- Wareham – 159 (11%)
- Middleborough – 54 (4%)
- Rockland – 51 (4%)
Seventy-five percent (1,093) of the total fatal and non-fatal overdoses (1,459) reported in Plymouth County in 2018 occurred in those five communities.
In regard to the location of where victims overdosed in comparison to their community of residence, 74% of the victims overdosed in their town of residence, compared to 26% who overdosed in a community outside of where they live, or were homeless.
Collaborative Outreach Efforts
Throughout the year, PCO’s outreach team attempted 987 visits to the homes of overdose victims throughout Plymouth County. Of those visits, contact with overdose victims or their family members was successful in 590 cases. Of the successful visits, 143 individuals accepted treatment and 62 individuals were already seeking treatment.
“Every person we can make contact with and speak to drastically increases the chances that they will accept treatment,” Plymouth Police Chief Michael Botieri said. “Our outreach team members worked extremely hard last year and visited nearly 1,000 homes in Plymouth County. We would like to commend them for their efforts and are hopeful they will get even more people to accept treatment this year.”
In 333 (56%) of the 590 successful follow-up visits, the outreach team had direct contact with the individual who had overdosed. The outcomes of those 333 visits were:
- Person Accepted Services – 143 (43%)
- Person Declined Services – 86 (26%)
- Person was Already Seeking Treatment – 62 (19%)
- No Response Provided – 42 (12%)
Recovery coaches play a significant role in the PCO outreach teams, partnering with plainclothes police officers who conduct post-overdose home follow-up visits. PCO outreach teams include police officers, recovery coaches, clinicians and social workers from their collaborative partners in healthcare, substance treatment, recovery, faith-based and local coalitions.
The Brockton Police Department and Brockton’s Champion Plan are vital Plymouth County Outreach partners. The Champion Plan just celebrated its three-year anniversary. At its anniversary celebration earlier this month, Brockton Mayor William Carpenter announced that Brockton had signed on and joined P.A.A.R.I., the Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative, another key partner and supporter of PCO.
In 2018, 700 individuals sought assistance through the Champion Plan and efforts by the Brockton Police, with 1,100 placements into treatment.
Since PCO started in late 2016, the coalition has continued to evolve, working to enhance existing partnerships, while consistently creating new partnerships with key stakeholders working together to combat this crisis across the region.
PCO’s police departments, along with its partners, recognize that this proactive outreach approach could eventually be utilized to engage other behavioral health issues, a future goal and focus of the PCO Chiefs Advisory Board. The Board is made up of the Plymouth County police chiefs, physicians and healthcare experts who oversee the initiative.
“PCO has clearly made a positive impact on our community,” said Dr. Jason Tracy, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth. Dr. Tracy, along with other Plymouth County healthcare leaders, is a member of the PCO Advisory Board. “Saving lives is a common goal of ours and it is encouraging to see what can be accomplished through this type of collaboration.”
PCO is currently six months into a two-year, Federal Bureau of Justice Assistance grant (Comprehensive Opioid Site-Based Program grant), which is providing $496,000 to PCO to expand and build upon the great work of the coalition throughout the county.
“Collectively, as a team across the county and with all of the key stakeholders, we are breaking down barriers and reducing the stigma associated with substance use disorders so that lives can be saved and families can be reunited,” said Brockton Police and PCO Advisory Board member Lieutenant Richard Linehan.
More information on PCO can be found at www.plymouthcountyoutreach.org
About Plymouth County Outreach: Plymouth County Outreach is a collaborative of police departments throughout Plymouth County led by the following chiefs: Abington Chief David Majenski, Bridgewater Chief Christopher Delmonte, Bridgewater State University Chief David Tillinghast, Brockton Chief John Crowley, Brockton Police Lt. Richard Linehan, Carver Chief Marc Duphily, Duxbury Chief Matthew Clancy, East Bridgewater Chief Scott Allen, Halifax Chief Joao Chaves, Hanover Chief Walter Sweeney, Hanson Chief Michael Miksch, Hingham Chief Glenn Olsson, Hull Chief John Dunn, Kingston Chief Maurice Splaine, Lakeville Chief Frank Alvihiera, Marion Chief John Garcia, Marshfield Chief Phillip Tavares, Mattapoisett Chief Mary Lyons, Middleboro Chief Joseph Perkins, Norwell Chief Ted Ross, Pembroke Chief Richard Wall, Plymouth Chief Michael Botieri, Plympton Chief Patrick Dillon, Rochester Chief Robert Small, Rockland Chief John Llewellyn, Scituate Chief Michael Stewart, Wareham Chief John Walcek, West Bridgewater Chief Victor Flaherty and Whitman Chief Scott D. Benton.