Heroin Epidemic on Front Burner for Council Subcommittee

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The Council’s Human Services subcommittee will continue its effort to find ways to battle the heroin and opioid epidemic that has hit Watertown this year. 

While these drugs have been a problem for years, 2015 has seen a spike of cases, with dozen of reported overdoses, several of which were fatal.

Monday night, the Human Services subcommittee meets at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber at Town Hall to continue looking for ways to help addicts get treatment and enter recovery, as well as taking steps to prevent others from becoming addicted in the first place.

Some steps have already been taken. At the July 14 Town Council meeting, councilors voted to recommend that the Town Manager take steps to have all Watertown Police officers trained to use the anti-overdose drug Narcan, and have the medication in all patrol cars. The Fire Department already carries Narcan.

They also voted to recommend that the Town Manager take steps to put a drug drop box in the lobby of the Watertown Police Station.

Another effort is the creation of an action plan to deal with the opioid crisis, which requested at an earlier Human Services Committee meeting. Health Department Director Deborah Rosati was asked to work with Watertown Police Lt. Dan Unsworth and others to come up with a plan. Among the ideas considered for the plan are:

  • identifying funding to make the on-site clinician from Advocates, Inc., who works with the Watertown Police, a full-time position
  • establishing a network of outreach volunteers to support the clinician with follow-up for the person trying to recover from addiction
  • organizing a club with the Watertown Public Schools of students committed to being alcohol and drug free with special events and benefits
  • using the town’s reverse 911 system for alerts on “bad drug batches”
  • creating a list of prevention and treatment resources available in town and establishing a point person for those seeking treatment and their families
  • supporting legislation in the State House related to prevention and treatment of substance abuse

See previous coverage from Watertown News of the opiate crisis:

Councilors Gathering Ideas to Battle Opiate Epidemic in Watertown

Two Watertown Groups Formed to Support Addicts, Family Members

Two Dead From Series of Overdoses in Watertown Over Weekend

Panel: Tough Love Can Help Addict Come to Grips with Their Illness

See Video of an Overdose Prevention Workshop Held in Watertown

Police Chief Sees Heroin as a Growing Concern in Watertown

Watertown Firefighters Now Armed with Antidote for Heroin Overdoses

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