Attleboro – The City Police Department is collaborating with the Manet Community Health Center to expand outreach and support efforts for individuals after nonfatal overdoses in order to prevent opioid deaths.
The nonprofit Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse at 8 North Main St. , able to work in conjunction with the Attleboro Police Department due to a grant from the state Department of Public Health.
The grant will fund Post-Overdose Support Teams to respond soon after a non-fatal overdose to help overdose survivors, their families, or others in their households access education and other services to reduce their risk of a future overdose.
The grant is worth $135,000 through June and another $157,000 through September 2024, and Manneh can apply for more government funding after that, according to a spokeswoman for the center.
Manet already has teams working successfully with police and first responders in Quincy, Braintree, Weymouth, Milton, Randolph, Hull, Holbrook and Avon, according to Executive Director Cynthia Sierra.
“Manet has a strong history of partnering with local police departments on overdose response,” Sierra said in a statement.
She said research has shown that a non-fatal drug overdose is associated with an increased risk of subsequent overdose.
By providing support and educational services, Sierra said, the goal is to prevent someone from overdosing and dying in the future.
Manet in Attleboro opens in July 2021.
“The participation and full support we have received from the leadership of the Attleboro Police Department has been heartening and we look forward to strengthening this partnership to help serve and protect community residents,” Sierra said.
The Attleboro Police Department’s Problem Oriented Police Unit has worked with individuals with a substance use disorder for nearly ten years, helping them obtain counseling services and jobs.
By cooperating with Manet, the police will be able to use the Centre’s expertise and services.
“The Attleboro Police Department is excited to establish our partnership with MANE Community Health Center in providing robust overdose education and supporting efforts for the City of Attleboro,” said Chief Constable Kyle Heggney.
The police chief said he was excited about the state’s grant and added that collaborating with Manet “will be very beneficial to our community and the goal of preventing overdose deaths.”
In addition to working with Manet, Hegney said the department is supposed to receive money from the state attorney general’s office from an estimated $90 million settlement of a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma for the company’s role in the nationwide opioid crisis.
Higney said he wants to expand the POP department’s team of social workers and mental health and substance abuse counselors to help those with opioid addiction and prevent overdose deaths.
According to police department data, there were 146 overdoses last year which is six fewer than in 2020. At least 79 of the overdoses were suspected fentanyl overdoses.
There were 13 suspected opioid deaths last year, which is almost double the number of deaths in 2020, according to the police department.
News of the collaboration between Manet and Attleboro police comes as the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration issued a warning about lethal fentanyl-laced prescription pills being distributed across the country.
The pills are manufactured by a drug cartel in Mexico, and DEA lab testing reveals that six out of 10 pills contain a potentially lethal dose, up from four out of 10 tested last year, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Working with the Manet Prevention Specialists, Police will be part of a Post Overdose Support Team that visits and provides resources and other support to anyone within the individual’s circle or home.
Officials said this includes providing overdose education, free Narcan and training in its use, harm reduction supplies, such as fentanyl test strips and referrals to services such as inpatient and outpatient detox.
The team will also provide referrals to behavioral health services, counseling, legal aid and social services. After the visits, the Manet team will follow up with the individuals and provide additional support as needed.
Manet was founded in 1979 to provide mental health services and care to all. It serves patients from all over the South Shore and Southeast Massachusetts with offices in Quincy, Hull, Taunton and now Attleboro.
David Linton can be reached at 508-236-0338.