Overdose tracking, response program starts in Worcester County

  • A training program for the Critical Incident Management System is held in Gardner. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Report
Published: 3/12/2020 9:43:06 PM
Modified: 3/12/2020 9:42:53 PM

WORCESTER — Police departments in all 60 of Worcester County’s cities and towns will begin tracking overdoses thanks to a new program implemented by a partnership between District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., the Central Massachusetts Chiefs of Police, local hospitals and medical providers, Sheriff Lew Evangelidis and recovery community partners.

The Critical Incident Management System allows law enforcement to collect overdose data and make it available in real-time to all police departments in the county. The information is then used to have a plainclothes police officer and a recovery coach reach out to the non-fatal overdose victim and offer services within 48 hours. The program allows police to identify those with substance-use disorder who are most at risk and offer them treatment.

Critical Incident Management System was developed by Kelley Research Associates in partnership with law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office in Plymouth County. After implementing the program in 2017, Plymouth County had a 26 percent reduction in overdose deaths in 2018. Critical Incident Management System is in use or being implemented in Bristol, Essex, Middlesex and Norfolk counties, as well.

The District Attorney’s office purchased the software for $40,000 using drug forfeiture funds.

“I am proud that we are bringing the CIMS program to Worcester County,” said Early in a prepared statement. “This model has proven effective in Plymouth and we hope to see the same success here. I’m glad to partner with so many who are helping us address this deadly disease. We are stepping out of our silos to use a model proven effective in another part of our state. It is exciting.”

Central Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association President and Fitchburg Police Chief Ernest F. Martineau has worked to get all of the departments in Worcester County signed up to use the program.

“Critical Incident Management Systems have shown to make substantial gains with providing hope for those suffering with addiction,” said Martineau in a prepared statemtn. “Positive reductions to overdoses have been reported in Plymouth County and that same technology is soon to be a reality in Worcester County. CIMS (Critical Incident Management System) will break down the silos and allow law enforcement to effectively collaborate its response. CIMS was developed by police for police.”

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