In Fighting Opioid Crisis, States Are Often Isolated In Their Efforts. A Nationwide App Could Change That.
The app lets law enforcement officials track overdoses in real time, a rarity in the data-starved landscape of the opioid epidemic. Media outlets report on the crisis out of New York and Massachusetts as well.
New App Maps Overdose Epidemic In Real Time
In an opioid overdose epidemic that killed more than 53,000 Americans last year and shows no signs of relenting, nearly every community in the nation is fortifying its public health, emergency medical and law enforcement response. But with limited resources, it’s essential to target efforts where they are needed most, said Washington/Baltimore HIDTA deputy director Jeff Beeson. (Vestal, 11/14)
The New York Times:
At The New York Division Of Fentanyl Inc., A Banner Year
The middle-aged couple in the station wagon went shopping at a New Jersey Walmart on a warm night in August. They stopped for dinner at an IHOP on the way home. And when they arrived at their apartment building in a quiet residential section of Queens, the narcotics agents following them got a warrant to go inside. They found several suitcases loaded with brick-shaped bundles of what appeared to be heroin. But lab tests determined that most of it — 141 pounds — was pure fentanyl, a synthetic and supremely dangerous opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin. (Miroff, 11/13)
Mass. Opioid Overdose Deaths Are Down 10 Percent So Far This Year
There's some relief in the latest snapshot of opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts, as an estimated 167 fewer residents died in the first nine months of 2017, as compared with the same period last year. The estimated 10 percent drop in deaths is included in a third quarter report from the Baker administration, which is tracking and presenting near-real-time data on the state's opioid epidemic. (Bebinger, 11/13)
Amid Opioid Crisis, Boston Elementary School Parents Worry About Discarded Needles
Caroline Toth Bernstein has a pretty convenient commute to her 6-year-old son Oscar’s school every morning. They walk a couple of blocks to Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School on Albany Street in Boston. But in that short journey, she has been spotting something that disturbs her: an orange cap lying in the grass. “I’ve trained myself to look for the orange caps for the [hypodermic] needles, because if there’s a cap, there’s probably a needle nearby,” Toth Bernstein explained. ... Orchard Gardens near Boston Medical Center is in the heart of what some call "Ground Zero" for the opioid epidemic in the city. (Becker and Amer, 11/14)
An 'Underground World': This Urban Tent Community Is Dangerous For Heroin Users
Kristin, an active drug user, is homeless. That makes her up to 30 times more likely to die after an heroin of fentanyl overdose, according to data analyzed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Kristin has beaten the odds so far, but a tour of the small urban tent community in Greater Boston where she stores things and often stays illustrates the risks. ... "Isn't it baffling that there is this grimy, filthy, intriguing underground world amongst such a beautiful place," Kristin says. "It really blows my mind." (Bebinger, 11/14)