Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke had high opioid-related deaths from 2017-2018

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – As a state, the opioid-related overdose death rate fell four percent between 2016 and 2018 but, in our area, it rose. 

Springfield, Chicopee, and Holyoke all experienced a notable increase in opioid-related deaths from 2017 to 2018.

There are numerous local organizations that offer resources and treatment to those suffering from addiction. Holyoke Health Center is one local organization that has seen an uptick in patients seeking help. 

Gene Divincenzo a program manager at Holyoke Health Center said, “We have expanded our medication assistance treatment program. Our patient numbers have been going up up up. We are meeting the needs of the community. Our program is comprehensive, holistic, and includes recovery coaches.”

Local social workers say that education and community engagement can prevent people from dying of opioids. Jim Stokes-Buckles a residential program manager at CHD told 22News, “It’s often not the person that uses every day who are necessarily at the highest risk, we find it’s the person that’s using opportunistically or using when they are pressured into using that may be at a higher risk because like I said they don’t know what they are taking.”

Narcan has saved countless lives during this epidemic. The Holyoke Health Center offers Narcan in their pharmacy. Anyone can go in and buy it and will be trained on how to use it. 

State health officials said nearly 500 people have died from an opioid-related overdose in the first three months of 2019. That’s more than five deaths a day.

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