City health officials and police are trying to figure out what's causing a sharp increase in drug overdoses in Boston this year.
The Boston Public Health Commission said today the city had 32 suspected overdoses this past weekend - concentrated downtown and in East Boston and Dorchester. The same period last year saw just 8 overdoses.
In a statement, the commission said samples from street purchases by Boston Police "have not indicated more potency or drugs laced with particular potentially-fatal substances."
The commission added that as of yesterday, first responders had administered 761 doses of Narcan - a drug that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdoes - this year, compared to 499 times for the same period last year.
The increase mirrors a similar jump reported by State Police for the rest of Massachusetts.
AHOPE, a harm reduction program for active injection drug users, is conducting street outreach, overdose prevention education, and needle exchange in the Downtown Crossing area while connecting substance users to needed resources. In BPHC homeless shelters, our Overdose Prevention Manager is providing lifesaving Narcan trainings to further prevent overdose. BPHC is also increase our prevention messaging through traditional flyering of hot spot areas, and has partnered with community health centers and businesses to spread awareness on the importance of overdose prevention in restrooms and bedrooms, known drug use spots.