"There are two ways to be fooled...
Updated: Feb 21
One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true" -Soren Kierkegaard
Recent data released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health shows an increase of 64% in the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in the MetroWest region when comparing 2018 data to that of 2017. While Hopkinton has not experienced this increase - I would like to point out that there wasn't a decrease in the actual number of people dying either.
One of the first things I did as the public health nurse in Hopkinton was obtain new Narcan for the schools and I have several free doses in my office should someone need one. Narcan is a life saving drug used to treat an opioid overdose in an emergency situation. It is not a remedy or cure for opioid addiction but rather it gives the person the chance to live another day. The opioid related EMS data states that there was 8 incidents in the year of 2019 vs 18 incidents in 2018. I am hopeful that by educating the public, reducing the stigma and by guiding patients into treatment we can hopefully reduce the number of Opioid-related deaths in 2020.
If you had asked me prior to reading this data I probably would have guessed that there were fewer than 5 overdose incidents and that there was at most maybe 1 death. Addiction does not discriminate and according to the data released we can do better. Those three deaths were residents of this town. I like to think that if "we" saw anyone but especially a neighbor drowning, we would do something to help. I can't say for certain what that "something" is but just acknowledging that there is room for improvement is a start.