I wanted to take a moment to update you all on the suspected overdose statistics and the Safe Station intakes. Since January 1, 2017 when compared to 2016, our overdose rate is down 44 percent and our suspected fatality rate is down 53 percent. This is now back to back months where the overdose rate has dropped by 40-50 percent, compared to the same time frame as 2016. While still early, we should all take comfort knowing that we may finally be turning a corner. Granted, final numbers for February aren’t in yet, but things look extremely promising. Community efforts across the board have been exemplary and we should all be proud.
Just to be comparative, here is an overall breakdown of the OD numbers from this past time with Safe Station and the previous year without it:
May 4 2015 – February 24, 2016 Suspected Overdoses: 646
(without Safe Station) Suspected Fatalities: 64
May 4 2016 – February 24, 2017 Suspected Overdoses: 578
(without Safe Station) Suspected Fatalities: 58
68 fewer overdoses, or 11 percent drop
6 fewer fatalities, or 10 percent drop
With regards to Safe Station, numbers have continued to increase as we are nearing the 1,300th visit. Over 1,000 people have come through MFD HQ alone, and130 people have come through the program so far this month, which is expected since there was some treacherous driving conditions several days.
Each and every day we are giving someone a shot at sobriety or reconnecting a broken family.
NH earns 2017 National Pillar of Excellence Award for Treatment
For those of you unaware, I will be in Washington, D.C., next week and most likely unable to provide the month-end numbers before the following week. The purpose of this trip is two-fold. Primarily it will be to attend the CARA Grant workshop at the request of the Addiction Policy Forum (the creators of the CARA legislation).
There are monies available to have this program fully studied and vetted to see why it works so well (more to lend credence to our assumptions that it is because we capitalize on when people want the help).
The second is something a little more personal. Not long after I was approached to attend the Conference, it was made known to me that I am the recipient of the 2017 National Pillar of Excellence Award for Treatment from the Addiction Policy Forum. This is one of six national awards, one from each of the different divisions highlighted in the CARA Legislation. This is because of the Safe Station program and our efforts. This is a program we can certainly hang our hats on and it is rapidly becoming something that the Nation is taking notice of.
Christopher Hickey is Director of Emergency Services for the City of Manchester, NH.