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Arlington Outreach Initiative Treats Overdoses, Increases Community Trust

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2017
4 pages
This article describes the features and benefits of the Arlington (Massachusetts) Police Department's (APD's) training and supervising of its officers to carry and administer Narcan (trade name for naloxone) to persons who have been rendered unconscious from an opioid overdose.

This program, called the Arlington Outreach Initiative, has succeeded in not only reducing the number of overdose deaths in this Boston suburb, it has increased community trust and brought a corresponding decline in property crime, according to the police chief. He says that a 19-percent decline in property crimes may be due partly to the trust and willingness of community residents to volunteer important information to police. The program achieves these results by using a two-pronged approach. After an overdose case, police make phone calls or visits to the person and suggest referrals for treatment by community-based services. A community education/awareness component of the program is designed to prevent opioid use and overdoses. The organization and oversight of the program is performed by a mental health clinician embedded in the APD. She accompanies officers on calls in which psychiatric assistance is needed. From its outset, the Arlington Outreach Initiative had support from key State and community stakeholders.

Date Published: April 1, 2017