Lowell Officials Call Attention to Surge in Opioid Overdoses

For Immediate Release March 17, 2017
Contact: Press Office
781-897-8325

LOWELL – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan today in partnership with Lowell City Councilor Corey Belanger, Lowell Police Superintendent William Taylor, Lowell Fire Chief  Jeffrey Winward, and John Chemlay, co-owner and President of Trinity EMS called on the public to be vigilant this weekend in the aftermath of a recent surge in opioid overdoses in the Greater Lowell area, attributing the rise to a potentially dangerous batch of heroin.

Starting last night, in a span of 15 hours, there were six near-fatal overdoses in the Greater Lowell area.  In each case, Narcan was administered, and the individuals were transferred to area hospitals for treatment. 

This occurrence has led local law enforcement and first responders to believe that the surge may be attributed to a particularly dangerous and deadly batch of heroin circulating on the streets. This is in part because the  overdose rate is uncharacteristic of recent data collected since the start of the year, indicating that fatal overdose numbers have stabilized.

As we head into the weekend, officials are urging the community and loved ones of individuals struggling with substance use to increase contact with individuals who are known to be using heroin or other controlled substances; this includes making extra phone calls and visits and having access to Narcan.

The surge was identified early this morning through, First Watch a real-time EMS alert system administered by Trinity EMS. The surge plan, a social media and public safety alert to raise awareness when significant spikes are identified like this morning, was subsequently activated in the city of Lowell. 

In total there has been a 42% decrease in fatal heroin overdose deaths in the Greater Lowell area compared to this same time period last year: 12 in 2016 compared to 7 in 2017.

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