spreadsheet Police Service Calls for Drug Overdoses, 2015-YTD (summary data)

The Northampton Police Department is responding to the opioid epidemic in multiple ways. Trained as first responders, our officers rapidly respond to overdoses, administer first aid and treat with the overdose-reversal drug naloxone (brand name Narcan.) All cruisers are stocked with a defibrillator, oxygen tank, other medical supplies, and two doses of naloxone. The following tables present drug-overdose data. It is critical to note this data only reflects overdose calls that our officers responded to; it does not include people brought directly to the hospital or those treated with naloxone by bystanders who did not seek medical help.

The Open Data Team recommended two tables: One shows suspected overdoses responded to annually and the number of suspected overdose-related deaths investigated since 2015. The other table details each suspected overdose officers responded to, presents demographics, drugs ingested, the use of naloxone, and whether people received additional medical care. The table also includes information about NPD’s Drug Addiction Response Team program, known as DART, launched in February, 2016.  DART officers are specially trained to connect people with local addiction resources. They review the daily call log looking for overdoses or other involvement with people in need of help. They then try to connect these people with services. The DART response column lists no when DART officers made no attempt at contact, attempted when they tried but could not find the person and yes when they made contact and offered help finding resources. Why don’t DART officers reach out in every overdose case? DART officers also have regular daily patrol duties, and there are times when they are too busy to make outreach efforts. There are other instances when officers have no contact information, are aware that the person has died, or know the person has entered treatment.  Also, the DART program began in February, 2016, so anyone who overdosed prior to that date did not receive a DART response and viewers can see a no in the DART column.

It should be noted that the data in this table includes suspected overdoses.  Typically responding officers talk with the individual, talk to witnesses, and make observations at the scene that lead them to classify a call as a suspected overdose.  Toxicology reports that are created by analyzing a person's blood are the only way to determine with absolute certainty that someone has overdosed.

Prior to August, 2016, people who overdosed on drugs and were in danger of serious bodily injury or death due to their continued use of the drugs, could refuse medical treatment.  In August of 2016 Governor Baker signed a new law that allows police officers to require that people seek medical treatment, even if they don’t want to.  Therefore, viewers may see the words “refused transport” in one of the columns in the 2015 and early 2016 tables, but once the law went into effect, individuals were no longer permitted to refuse treatment and officers could place them into protective custody to get the person medical services.

Finally, in 2017 the department made a change to the tables by removing overdoses that were intentional.  We decided that we wanted these table to track accidental overdoses and not suicides or suicide attempts.  Therefore, some of the overdose numbers from 2015 and 2016 may have changed due to the removal of intentional overdoses.

  2015 2016 2017 2018
Overdoses- Heroin 15 44 31 42
Overdoses- Other 5 3 5 3
Total Overdoses 20 47 36 45
PD/FD/Bystander Narcan Used 10 35 23 28
Deaths- Heroin 0 6 3 8
Deaths- Other 1 0 1 0
Total Deaths 1 6 4 8