August Newsletter

Be Part of a Process That Will Save Lives: Your Community Needs You!

The Berkshire Opioid Addiction Prevention Collaborative and community partners recognize that each non-fatal overdose is an opportunity to reduce the risk of subsequent overdose.

By working together to plan, design, and implement comprehensive post-overdose engagement programming in the Northern Berkshire region, we aim to reduce overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal, in the North Berkshires as well as in other communities in Berkshire County that bear the significant burden of overdoses and overdose deaths, namely, Pittsfield. Using established and innovative mobile health models combined with evidence-based prevention and harm reduction models, we will create teams of specially-trained first responders, harm reductionists, public health nurses, peer support workers and recovery coaches to follow up and provide support and care, including the provision of naloxone, to individuals who have experienced an overdose, as well as to family and other bystanders.

Would you like to be part of this process?

Beginning July 23, we will begin will an intensive planning process (up to 3 hours per meeting) with community facilitators C4 Innovations (https://c4innovates.com/ ), to build trust, align frameworks and goals, to design post-overdose engagement teams that fit our communities’ needs and ideals- and to save lives. This working group will meet at least monthly, for up to six months. If you would like to actively engage in this community planning and dialogue, be fully engaged in this process, and can commit to up to 6 meetings, we would like to hear from you.

Please reach out to [email protected] to learn more.


Never Use Alone

(800) 484-3731

If you have no choice but to use alone, call us! You will be asked for your first name, exact location, county, and the number you’re calling from. An operator will then stay on the line with you while you use. If you do not respond after a set amount of time after you’ve used, the operator will notify emergency services of an “unresponsive person” at your location. If you call, and cannot connect with an operator, please call ‪(931) 304-9452.


Coronavirus Pandemic Compounds Another Ongoing Crisis: The Opioid Epidemic

By Jeremy Hobson and Samantha Raphelson
“Long before the coronavirus pandemic, one of the worst epidemics in the U.S. was opioid abuse.

In 2018, the last year complete data was made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 67,000 people died of drug overdoses. Opioids such as heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers like Oxycontin, caused about 70% of those overdose deaths.”



Nonfatal Overdoses: All Opioids

“The drug overdose data presented below come from CDC’s Drug Overdose Surveillance and Epidemiology (DOSE) system. CDC has analyzed data from syndromic surveillance of suspected drug overdoses. Data presented here include percent change estimates in rates of suspected all opioid overdoses per 10,000 ED visits. These suspected all opioid overdose percent change estimates may change as CDC receives updated data, so estimates should be interpreted with caution.”

Trends in Emergency Department Visits for Suspected All Opioid Overdose, January 2019 to January 2020


For the entire list:  https://mcusercontent.com/acf2c28ed7781de7ee4b5b06a/files/d36e85fd-9cd0-44b7-b23f-f0fd943e20b0/COVID_19_update18Resources_Compiled_by_CERS.pdf

The Coronavirus Is Blowing Up Our Best Response to the Opioid Crisis

By: Zachary Siegel
“Any gains we made in funding for health departments, syringe exchanges, naloxone distribution—it’s all at risk.

On Mondays, Dr. Kimberly Sue would see patients at a syringe service program on the Lower East Side in New York, prescribing medications like buprenorphine that treat opioid addiction. Other days, she saw patients at Rikers Island Correctional Health Services, where she specialized in treating HIV and substance use disorders. She was practicing medicine on the front lines of the nation’s overdose crisis until the Covid-19 pandemic slammed New York. ”



NIDA Seeks Input for 2021-25 Strategic Plan

By: Tom Valentino, Senior Editor

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is seeking input from the public and the scientific community as it crafts its strategic plan for 2021-25.

The plan has three main goals, NIDA director Nora Volkow, MD, wrote in a blog post on the NIDA website:

  • Understand drug use, addiction and the brain
  • Develop and test novel prevention, treatment and recovery support strategies
  • Implement evidence-based strategies in real-world settings

Volkow also identified four topics that will get special focus over the next five years: reducing stigma around SUD, reducing health disparities, understanding sex/gender differences related to SUD/addiction, and understanding the relationships between substance use and co-occurring conditions.

The strategic plan will serve as NIDA’s overarching vision for shaping addiction science in the coming years and include information on how the institute intends to manage public funds, but it is not intended to serve as an exhaustive list of initiatives for the institute, Volkow wrote.

Additional information, including how to submit responses, is available in the Request for Information document published on the National Institutes of Health website. Responses are due Aug. 7.


Quarterly Opioid Statistics Report

Massachusetts Department of Public Health have updated their Current opioid statistics. Above are the opioid overdose deaths by county. For more data, use the link below.


For the entire list: https://boapc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Online-Phone-resources-6-3-20.pdf?

Maine to launch ‘rapid response team’ to combat opioid crisis

By Joe Lawlor

“The $3 million initiative would try to reach people with substance use disorder who are not in recovery programs.

The Mills administration is planning to launch a statewide “rapid response team” later this year to help combat the opioid crisis.

The team would use near real-time data to look for spikes in nonfatal drug overdoses, and offer help to people with substance use disorder who may not otherwise have sought or received assistance.”


Beyond baby boomers: Hepatitis C now heavily impacting multiple generations

“April  9, 2020 – Data emphasize importance of new CDC hepatitis C screening recommendations for all adults.

New data show that chronic hepatitis C infection affects every generation—underscoring new CDC recommendations that every adult should be tested at least once in their lifetime for this curable infection. Previously, hepatitis C was primarily a concern for the baby boomer generation, as well as people with risk factors, such as injection drug use.”