Plymouth County Outreach Collaboratively Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
Between 2017 and 2018, Plymouth County Outreach (PCO) saw a significant decrease in both fatal and nonfatal overdoses and an increase in at-risk referrals, as well as in people reaching out to departments for assistance before overdoses occurred. This year, Plymouth County was cited in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s annual report for its 26 percent decrease in fatal overdoses, while the state average was a 1 percent decrease. This presentation explores the strategies behind PCO’s successes.
PCO—a referral program for those struggling to enter treatment and achieve long-term recovery—is a collaboration of the 27 municipal police departments, a local university police department, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department, which engage with non-law enforcement partners in health care, treatment, recovery, local coalitions, the faith-based community, and especially the region’s hospitals. All PCO departments partner with the Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI) and assign designated officers to manage real-time overdose data as well as commit officers who are trained to be outreach officers. Across the county, all overdose incidents are entered and tracked in the Critical Incident Management System, created to bring a unified system of overdose incident reporting and systematic follow-up across the county.
Chief Michael Botieri, Chief of Police, Plymouth, Massachusetts, Police Department
Vicky Butler, Project Coordinator, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, Outreach
Pamela Kelley, Ph.D., M.P.A., Executive Director, Kelley Research Associates
Chief Walter Sweeney, Chief of Police, Hanover, Massachusetts, Police Department
March 11, 2020