Visible Thanksgiving Overdose Wake-Up Call to Opiate Epidemic

November 29, 2018
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While overdoses aren’t spiking in Everett, they continue to be very steady and one fatal overdose on the sidewalk at Glendale Park on Thanksgiving morning has provided another wake-up call to the ongoing epidemic.

Around 11:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, several people passing by Glendale Park reported a woman lying on the sidewalk motionless. Police responded and found that the woman was dead, and the matter is being investigated as a suspected overdose.

Chief Steve Mazzie said there wasn’t a lot of information that could be released, but he did say police found the deceased woman on the street at Glendale, and they are treating it as a suspected overdose death.

The sad situation is in the hands of the District Attorney’s office now, but in Everett it has been cause for a new push to highlight the epidemic and treatment options that are available.

SUD Program Director Tori Cyrus said the numbers of overdoses in Everett is actually down year to date. From Jan. 1, to Nov. 27, 2017, there were 164 overdoses in the city. In that same time this year, there have been 127.

“We actually saw a decrease in overdoses in the summer, and then as soon as the season changed, we saw an increase or influx of overdoses,” she said. “We’ve really seen an influx of overdoses with females. We are seeing that influx of overdoses with the seasonal change, but it is no more than in November last year. This was a very public overdose, but a lot of our overdoses are seen in residential properties. So, that means we’re seeing a lot of families going through this.”

Chief Mazzie said he also believes the numbers are steady, not that they are good, but they aren’t increasing. That said, finding a woman dead on the sidewalk on Thanksgiving morning leaves room for many to pause.

Cyrus said since she came on in February 2017, the City has made much progress with her Roadmap to Recovery program.

Officially, she works out of the Fire Department, and a major part of her job is to follow up on overdoses.

Through very meticulous data and record keeping, Cyrus’s office keeps track of every overdose in Everett – who overdosed, where and where they are from.

Using that information, Cyrus makes home visits a day or two after someone overdoses and recovers.

“If someone does overdose in Everett, we will go to their home with 24 to 48 hours to follow up,” she said. “When we do go there for visits, it isn’t an enforcement thing, but making them aware that there are people in the City of Everett in position to help them if they are ready to get help. If we don’t make contact with them, I always leave a hand-written note with my contact and a list of resources.”

The City offers support groups, links to recovery services, and family support groups.

Another thing they offer is Narcan training for users, and families that have a user in the house at risk for overdose.

Cyrus said Narcan is available through that program at any pharmacy, and can be filled like any regular prescription. If anyone encounters any trouble in getting Narcan, she said to contact her at (617) 874-0489.

The suspected overdose on Thanksgiving morning continues to be under investigation.