Plymouth County Outreach Issues Alert Following Spike in Drug Overdoses this Month

Note: An earlier version of this release included marijuana in a list of non-opioid substances suspected of being mixed with fentanyl. PCO has no confirmed cases of fentanyl being mixed with marijuana or of fentanyl being mixed with marijuana causing an overdose.

The Police Chiefs of Plymouth County report that since Dec. 1, the county has had 52 overdose incidents, seven of them being suspected fatal overdoses.

The spike is a concerning trend and one that the PCO Chiefs and Advisory Board want to share with the public.

PCO and its partners want the public, especially individuals at risk of overdose and their families and friends, to be aware of the increased risk of an overdose and what action you can take.

Please be aware that anyone using a substance purchased off the street is at risk of an overdose. It is suspected that Fentanyl is being mixed with other non-opioid substances such as cocaine and street pills marked as Xanax.

Know how to recognize the signs of an overdose:
-Breathing is very slow and shallow, erratic or has stopped
-Face very pale
-Cool, clammy skin
-Choking sounds or a gurgling noise (death rattle)
-Vomiting
-Pulse (heartbeat) is slow erratic or has stopped
-Blue/grey skin tinge – usually lips and fingers show first, sometimes in tips of ears
-Passing out
-Body becomes very limp

Life saving measures to reverse an overdose:
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medication used to reverse an opioid overdose.

Narcan saved lives 95% of the time when administered in Plymouth County last year.

Narcan is available at the following locations:
-Your local pharmacy has an open/standing prescription for everyone. This means you can go to your pharmacy to ask for Narcan. The cost will be whatever your insurance co-pay is.
-BAMSI COPE Center at 81 Pleasant Street, Brockton is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
-Local Drop-In Centers – www.ebhopes.net or call (504) 800-0942
-Local Learn 2 Cope meetings – https://www.learn2cope.org/
Plymouth County Outreach during follow up visits 

Treatment, support and hope are available throughout the county and region:
-Brockton Champion Plan – http://opioidoverdoseprevention.org/bmoocp/champion-plan/
-Drop-In Centers, East Bridgewater, Plymouth and Wareham – www.ebhopes.net
-Scituate South Shore Peer Recovery Center – http://www.southshorepeerrecovery.com/
-Plymouth Recovery Center – https://www.facebook.com/PlymouthRecoveryCenter/
-Brockton Area Prevention Collaborative –http://opioidoverdoseprevention.org/bmoocp/overdose/
-Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline: 800-327-5050 or https://helplinema.org/

9-1-1 Make the Call. Save a Life:
The Massachusetts Good Samaritan Law, passed in 2007, encourages anyone who witnesses an overdose to seek help by protecting the caller and the person who overdosed from arrest and prosecution for drug possession. Do not be afraid to involve emergency services (911) as soon as possible.

The Plymouth County Police Chiefs, District Attorney and Sheriff last year created a PCO Good Samaritan Law PSA, click here to view video; https://vimeo.com/245209366

Safeguard your home:
Dispose of unused prescription medications in drug take back boxes at your local police departments or Beth Israel Deaconess-Plymouth hospital at no cost to you.

Harm reduction strategies:
While we strongly encourage people to seek treatment we understand addiction is a disease and want to share ways to reduce the chance of death:
-Don’t use alone
-Use slowly
-Test a small amount first
-Carry Narcan
-Test your substance using a fentanyl test strip. Call the PCO office for access to test strips at (508) 830-4218 X261

About Plymouth County Outreach:
Plymouth County Outreach (PCO) is a collaboration of all 27 municipal police departments in the county, as well as Bridgewater State University Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Department, along with dozens of partners from healthcare, substance use disorder treatment organizations, the recovery community, faith-based groups, local substance use coalitions, concerned citizens and the region’s hospitals.

PCO’s Project Coordinator, Vicky Butler continues to keep the public updated through the PCO website: plymouthcountyoutreach.org | Facebook: @plymouthcountyoutreach | Twitter: @countyoutreach | Instagram: @plymouthcountyoutreach and can be reached at vbutler@plymouthcountyoutreach.org.

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