Police try out new database for documenting opioid overdoses

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Police in Massachusetts are testing a new database documenting opioid overdoses they hope will help departments share information in real time and get people into treatment.

The database was developed by criminal justice experts Sean Varano at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, and Pam Kelley with Kelley Research Associates in Massachusetts.

Varano says it’s innovative because agencies typically rely on older public health data about fatal overdoses and don’t know the prevalence of nonfatal overdoses, and because it gives them a quick way to communicate about that data.

When a police department responds to an overdose, it’s recorded in the system.

The system currently being used in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, alerts the department to do a follow-up outreach visit. If the victim is from another community, that police department is notified.

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