Councillors Call for Heroin Overdose Task Force

Recognizing there is an epidemic in their own backyard, two councillors have called for the formation of a Heroin Overdose Task Force.

Councillors Jessica Giannino and Brian Arrigo have banded together to make the issue of opioid abuse one that isn’t ignored.

Giannino said there has been a statewide increase in opioid abuse and overdoses.

“We need a solution and have a plan to let police help educate the public,” she said last week.

Arrigo concurred that the opioid problem exists in the city, state and nation. Gov. Charlie Baker has started a working group along with Attorney General Maura Healey. He hopes there might be funding available to help find a solution.

“We can make a dent in this issue,” Arrigo said. “There has been a 46 percent increase.”

Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky said the opioid problem is a bad situation. He has been to regional meetings and would like to see Revere Cares included in any meetings.

“We pay an economic price too,” said Ward 4 Councillor Stephen Reardon. “At hospitals, in crime. It’s a very comprehensive issue.”

He reminded everyone that Revere was the first in the nation to allow first responders to administer Narcan, a drug that can save people from an opioid overdose by reversing the effects of drugs like heroin and oxycontin.

Fire Chief Gene Doherty said Revere will also be the first in the nation to have firefighters follow up with people they have saved using Narcan. They will be giving the user and the family a packet of information oon getting help. Doherty said they will not be acting as counselors, but rather as people with information.

In the last 14 months there have been 137 Narcan
saves” in Revere, Doherty said. There have been six deaths and 69 overdoses where no Narcan was used. He added that from Feb. 14 of this year to April there were 57 reversals using Narcan.

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