Chief Terence M. Delehanty and the Winthrop Police Department announce that they have partnered with the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) to distribute survival kits meant to prevent overdoses and connect those in need with recovery resources.
The department, like countless others nationwide, has been forced to modify its day-to-day operations and alter its approach to serving the community in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. As part of its renewed approach, the Winthrop Police Department is one of a handful of agencies to partner with P.A.A.R.I. to provide those in need with Survival Kits.
In an effort to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, several corrections facilities in various parts of the country are releasing people from incarceration who do not pose a significant risk to the public and are vulnerable to COVID-19.
According to a 2016 report by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the fatal overdose rate among individuals recently released from incarceration is 120 times higher than it is for the rest of the population. Those with substance use disorder may also be at a greater risk for serious complications from COVID-19, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, because the virus attacks the respiratory system. Those with opioid use disorder could also be put at a higher risk for a fatal overdose should they contract COVID-19 and suffer diminished lung capacity from the virus. Further, self-quarantine and other similar public health efforts may make it more difficult for those with opioid use disorder to access syringe services, medication and other critical support and programming, especially if they are also experiencing homelessness. To learn more, click here.
The Survival Kits contain a variety of resources, including:
• 4mg nasal naloxone (NARCAN)
• Localized resources to facilitate referrals to detox, harm reduction services, medication for opioid use disorder, and recovery supports, with a focus on telephonic and virtual support
• Information to connect with Boston Medical Center’s Office Based Addiction Treatment Program telemedicine and prescribing hotline and local pharmacy partners
• COVID-19 safety information
• Fentanyl safety information and, in some cases, fentanyl test strips to help identify the deadly substance.
“The COVID-19 situation has the potential to disproportionately impact people who are already at-risk, and it requires us to reconsider some of the approaches we’ve taken to our outreach to these groups,” Chief Delehanty said. “These kits, especially with nasal naloxone included, can have a lifesaving impact and we are grateful for the opportunity to be able to provide them to those in our community who need them.” To obtain a kit, call the Emergency Operations Center between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 617-539-5848 or email [email protected] and ask for Sgt. Sarko Gergerian to call them back to speak confidentially about having a kit dropped off at their address.