Near-fatal overdose prompts concerns among city officials

City of Revere officials are alarmed and concerned by recent allegations that a bystander who was attempting to respond to a potential opioid overdose was allegedly refused access to naloxone at local pharmacy in Revere. The bystander took swift action and retrieved naloxone that he kept in his vehicle in case of an emergency. He later complimented the Revere Fire Department and the Revere Police Department for their effective response and performance.
 In 2016, under Mayor Brian Arrigo’s leadership, the City of Revere opened the Substance Use Disorder Initiatives (SUDI) Office with a lofty goal to reduce fatal opioid overdose by 25 percent within a two-year period, thereby increasing access to naloxone. Since then, the office has enhanced existing programs that provide naloxone to individuals and bystanders post-overdose, as well as training local businesses on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose. Three years later, Revere has seen a 47 percent decrease in fatal opioid overdoses according to data released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (2019). Although this is an important accomplishment, the office recognizes that much more needs to be done.
Drug-related stigma shapes our attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. Both insidious as it is complex, stigma manifest itself in many different ways, like restrictions to medication and treatment. However, the combination of personal and public stigma is what perpetuates the opioid epidemic. For generations, addiction has been portrayed as a moral failing rather than a public health issue. The end result is policies and practices that create barriers to housing, education, and employment. And despite scientific advances, individuals and families continue to be marginalized by society.
To that end, the City of Revere, through the SUDI Office, is developing a recovery-oriented strategy aimed at mobilizing recovery leaders to serve as change agents to advance recovery capital at the community level. And through ongoing engagement, education and open dialogue, the office will be taking another step forward toward achieving its mission to humanize drug and alcohol-related issues.

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