As overdoses rise in Lisbon, new police partnership brings a way out

The Lisbon City Council this week permitted a partnership between the police division and Tri-County Psychological Well being Companies to supply overdose prevention providers by means of an outreach program.

This can enable a disaster employee to experience with Lisbon police and reply to overdose calls alongside officer or observe up with the one who overdosed inside 24 hours to assist with referrals and counseling intervention.

Lisbon Police Chief Ryan McGee mentioned Wednesday that police have been known as to 4 drug overdoses previously week, which reveals a transparent want for drug dependancy sources on the town.

The partnership is a results of Gov. Janet Mill’s OPTIONS (Overdose Prevention Via Intensive Outreach, Naloxone and Security) initiative introduced in October 2020 to fight the surge of overdoses in Maine. This system has already had success in Lewiston, McGee mentioned.

Even after working in Lisbon for 20 years and creating a great rapport with the general public, McGee mentioned it’s arduous to persuade somebody scuffling with substance abuse to go to a hospital or dependancy restoration heart and ask for assist. McGee hopes individuals will really feel extra comfy speaking on to a drug counselor.

You will need to have psychological well being staff working side-by-side with police and the extra who’re, “the higher it will be for Lisbon residents,” McGee mentioned.

It’s an indication that policing is altering, and hopefully, for the higher, he mentioned.

One other instrument, McGee mentioned, is the Naloxone nasal spray Lisbon law enforcement officials started carrying in 2019, which might reverse the consequences of an opioid drug overdose. Naloxone was utilized by police thrice in 2019 and 4 occasions in 2020. Police haven’t administered Naloxone but this yr.

McGee mentioned Lisbon Police Division had 9 overdoses reported in 2020, in comparison with 4 overdoses this yr already. Lisbon counts overdoses because the variety of those who have been unconscious and in a vital state.

Maine recorded its worst yr for drug overdoses in 2020, with 502 deaths, surpassing the earlier excessive of 417 deaths in 2017, which on the time was thought of the peak of the opioid disaster, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Based on the February overdose report launched by the Margaret Chase Smith Coverage Middle and the College of Maine, there had been 45 deadly drug overdoses statewide in January and February of 2021.

The report states that the frequency of deadly overdoses in January and February accord with patterns in 2020. In Androscoggin County, which incorporates Lisbon, there have been 51 overdose deaths in 2020 and 13 overdoses deaths in January and February of 2021.

Catherine Ryder, the Chief Govt Officer of Tri-County Psychological Well being Companies, mentioned drug overdoses are on the rise in Lisbon, which has had practically as many overdoses thus far this yr because it had in all of 2020.

The OPTIONS initiative offers one 40-hour-a-week licensed alcohol and drug counselor to regulation enforcement companies in every county. She mentioned it offers one other layer of help law enforcement officials desperately want.

Ryder mentioned this disaster employee is ready to go to properties or the emergency division to speak to the one who has had a drug overdose to speak in regards to the dependancy restoration sources accessible.

“We have a look at each contact as another alternative to plant that seed that may hopefully germinate,” Ryder mentioned. “That can hopefully result in them asking or embracing the chance for a restoration journey.”

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