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JUST A FEW HOURS have passed since family members found their 20-year-old loved one unconscious on the bathroom floor, suffering from a suspected, non-fatal drug overdose. There is a knock at the door. It is a plain-clothed Plymouth Police officer and a recovery coach. The family invites the officer and coach in and they all sit down together at the kitchen table to discuss what to expect next and possible
treatment options. This is the scene being played out each day by police departments throughout Plymouth County, where an initiative is sending teams knocking door-to-door in an all hands on deck approach in the battle to combat opioid addiction.
In 2015, along with Sheriff Joseph McDonald, I formed the Plymouth County Drug Abuse Task Force, an effort to engage all community sectors to work on the opioid issue. The Drug Abuse Task Force brings law enforcement, the medical community, educators and substance abuse experts together to share information and track the current trends of the opiate epidemic. Two of our police chiefs, co-chairs of our Public Safety Committee, had been successfully running programs on their own – one initiative where follow-up visits are made with a victim hours after an overdose occurs, and another, offering community outreach and programming to families. Under the collaborative efforts of the task force and leadership of Police Chiefs Michael Botieri and Scott Allen, the two programs merged, and Plymouth County Outreach (PCO) was born.
The intent of the combined outreach effort is to provide a human touch in the critical hours of need after an overdose, and to connect family members and friends of those with substance use disorders with existing treatment resources and support in Plymouth County. Each day, police departments review all reported overdose and overdose death reports for the previous 24-hour period and determine where
follow- up is necessary. Within 12-24 hours of a suspected drug overdose, an outreach team consisting of a plain clothed police officer is paired with an on-call health care representative – either a licensed clinician or recovery coach – to conduct home visits of overdose survivors. The team attempts to meet with the person who overdosed, but oftentimes it is a sit-down with family members to discuss next steps, their options and potential treatment for the victim. Still other outreach team members find their visits involve simply listening and lending support as family members share their tragic stories of loved ones trapped in the throes of addiction.
PLYMOUTH -- WATD-FM covers DA Cruz's address to the Plymouth County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast. DA Cruz addressed his office's efforts to combat the opioid crisis.Read more
September 28, 2017
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Working to combat the exploitation and human trafficking of children is part of the Plymouth County District Attorney Office’s mission.
WATD’s Christine James spoke with D.A. Tim Cruz to find out more about what his office is doing about this problem:
September 7, 2017
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It’s an opportunity to learn more about Narcan, a drug used to reverse an opiate overdose, and how to use it is planned for September 12th, at Bridgewater State University. The university is also going to have it readily available on campus.
WATD’s Christine James, spoke with Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz for details: