The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative Survival Kits have been delivered to Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk County Sheriff’s Departments and will begin to be distributed today, March 25.
- Boston 25 News
- Brockton Enterprise
- Gloucester Times
- Lowell Sun
- Wicked Local Concord
- WBUR News
- Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Learning Network
P.A.A.R.I. announced Monday that it had partnered with the Office Based Addiction Treatment Program at Boston Medical Center, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Healthy Streets and AHOPE of Boston Public Health Commission, and three Massachusetts Sheriff’s Departments to launch a Survival Kit program to reduce the risk of overdose for those released from jails in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ 2016 Chapter 55 Opioid Report found that the rate for fatal opioid overdoses among those recently released from incarceration is 120 times higher than it is for the rest of the adult population. Those being released from incarceration who also have substance use disorder may also be at a greater risk for serious complications from COVID-19, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, because the virus attacks the respiratory system.
“In the midst of this coronavirus crisis, people with substance use disorders will face even greater barriers to care and the risk of overdose will rise,” said PAARI Executive Director Allie Hunter. “Those released from incarceration will be at an increased risk for fatal overdose, at a time when area hospitals and medical care centers are being burdened significantly as they work to treat COVID-19 patients.”
In response to the releases, some public health and law enforcement officials are taking steps to prevent overdoses among those recently released. They’ve assembled 200 kits containing the overdose reversal drug naloxone to distribute to those being released from some Massachusetts jails because of overlapping health concerns of overdose and COVID-19.
Executive Director Allie Hunter explains what is in the Survival Kits: