Training held for those who respond to overdoses - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Training held for those who respond to overdoses

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Suspected overdose deaths are on the rise in Northampton.

Thursday afternoon, police officers and recovery coaches attended training in overdose response and treatment.

This comes just two weeks after Northampton Police dealt with a spike in heroin overdoses in just one weekend.

This training happens on a bi-monthly basis and has been planned for some time.  It gives officers the opportunity to ask questions about what they have been seeing in the field.

“Trends we’re seeing or what’s working for some officers," said Northampton Police Officer Adam Van Buskirk.

As Northampton deals with a recent spike in suspected overdose deaths, police meet with recovery coaches to talk about services available for those who are struggling.

“Our goal is hopefully to figure out how to break down barriers and helping people access services.  So access to treatment and harm recovery services is a big problem in Hampshire County, so today, we’ll have a conversation about how to connect people to those services," said Cherry Sullivan, program director for Hampshire Hope.

The program was originally piloted with the Northampton Police Department.  With the support of a federal grant the city’s health department received in September, Drug Addiction Response Teams - known as DART - will meet with others throughout the county.

“What are the systems we can refer people to?  How do we access those systems, and to build bridges and hopefully close some gaps on some of those systems that we have," Sullivan said.

A spokesperson for the Northampton Police Department told Western Mass News there were four suspected overdose deaths last year and this year, there have already been five - and we’re not even halfway through the year yet.

“It’s something that we can discuss at these trainings and these are things we update each other on," Van Buskirk added.

Van Buskirk said that it’s important to meet and put faces to providers.

“That way, we have someone we can have direct access to and talk to on a daily basis," Van Buskirk said.

A couple of weeks back, the city had six overdoses in 36 hours.  Training events like these help officers learn how to connect people struggling with addiction to people who can help them.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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