By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Revere public safety officials’ efforts are working in reducing the number of drug overdoses in City, according to very raw 2016 data released on Tuesday. In 2015 there were 256 calls for possible overdoses from heroin, fentanyl and other opioids. In 2016 it appears the number has dropped to 195 calls for possible overdoses.
Looking closer at the numbers in 2016 there were 125 calls by the fire department where Narcan was used and 67 calls where the person was conscious and under the influence. There were also four possible fatalities. This is compared to 2015 when there were 151 calls using Narcan and 101 cases where the person was conscious an did not require Narcan. There were also five possible fatalities.
“We’re tackling the problem a lot better but the epidemic, the problem is still there,” said firefighter Kevin Doherty, who noted that the use of the painkiller fentanyl is becoming an increasing problem.
The key to the reduction in overdoses is the use of Narcan. Doherty said more Narcan and training is needed in the community. People can get Narcan at CVS, Walgreen’s and Rite Aid. Narcan is also available for free at the SUDI Drop-in Center at 437 Revere St. on Tuesday night’s from 5-8 p.m. Training is also available.
“We’re trending more in a positive direction,” said Kim Hanton, of North Suffolk Mental Health and a member of the Revere Board of Health. “This is just raw data. There is more to come. According to state statistics there were an estimated 1,747 opioid deaths in the state for 2015. Data for 2016 is estimated at this point.