Key lessons on how cops can beat the opioid epidemic
PERF's new report provides in-depth analysis for police agencies on how to combat the growing threat
By PoliceOne Staff
As the nation grapples with an opioid epidemic that shows no signs of slowing down, the Police Executive Research Forum has released an extensive new report on the state of the crisis and how law enforcement agencies are combating the issue. They also outline 10 specific steps police chiefs and sheriffs can take.
Introducing the report’s findings, PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler outlined the seriousness of the epidemic:
“In just one year, 2016, nearly as many people died from opioid overdoses as all U.S. fatalities during the entire course of the Vietnam War,” Wexler wrote. “And despite the huge amount of hard work and thoughtful strategies that police chiefs and sheriffs have thrown at this problem over the last few years, the crisis has not yet peaked. It is still getting worse, according to federal statistics.”
All police leaders should give the entire report a read, which includes:
• How police and other agencies are sharing intel to fight fatal ODs.
• How police are working with overdose victims to prevent future drug abuse.
• The widespread adoption of naloxone in agencies and its effect on the crisis.
• The role of jails in drug treatment and rehabilitation.
• The importance of outreach to at-risk juveniles.
• LE’s role in educating the public on the dangers of opioids.
• The complex legal issues tied to the crisis.
Of particular interest may be PERF’s profile of New York City’s multi-agency, multi-pronged approach to the epidemic, which includes outfitting their officers with naloxone, investigating all fatal and nonfatal overdose cases, early diversion programs, and data sharing.
This problem is not going away and needs to be attacked at all levels. For expert tips on how to keep yourself and your city safe, check out our coverage on opioids.