The heroin epidemic is becoming increasingly visible as more people who use the drug are overdosing in public spaces, The New York Times reports.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, several people overdosed in the bathrooms of a church, leading church officials to close the bathrooms to the public.
“We weren’t medically equipped or educated to handle overdoses, and we were desperately afraid we were going to have something happen that was way out of our reach,” said the Reverend Joseph O. Robinson, Rector of Christ Church Cambridge.
Police in many towns find people who have been using heroin unconscious or dead in cars, fast-food restaurant bathrooms, on public transportation, and in parks, hospitals and libraries.
Some people who use heroin seek out towns where emergency medical workers carry the opioid overdose antidote naloxone (Narcan), the article notes. They know “if they do overdose, there’s a good likelihood that when police respond, they’ll be...
A growing number of police departments are trying new approaches to battling the heroin epidemic, the Associated Press reports.
Instead of simply arresting people, they are helping steer people into treatment.
In Colerain Township in Ohio, a “Quick Response Team” includes police officers, paramedics and addiction counselors. Dan Meloy, the township’s Public Safety Director, told the AP the program appears to be having an impact already. When the program started last July, Meloy thought the township would end up with more than 200 overdoses in 2015. By the end of the year, there were 167 overdoses.
The program is also helping to reduce other crimes, Meloy noted. “They’re not breaking into their neighbors’ sheds, they’re not robbing the local stores, they’re not stealing from their families trying to feed their habit,” he said.
John Tharp, sheriff in Lucas County, Ohio, says some people object to this new approach, and say those...