- AWARD WON: 2017 Finalist
- AWARDEE: Quincy Police NARCAN Program
- DESIGNEE: City of Quincy, MA
- JURISDICTION: Massachusetts
During the time period of 2008-2009, the City of Quincy, MA was experiencing a significant spike in opioid overdoses and deaths, and in that same period, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health was also monitoring those statistics. The normal procedure for law enforcement was to arrest the individual should they survive, but this was not a solution to addiction — rather it placed the individual in the criminal justice system in lieu of much needed treatment and counseling. Police officers, fire fighters and ambulance personnel responded to incidents of overdose, but each tier by law was prevented from possessing or administering Narcan, an opiate antidote. To overcome this barrier to life-saving treatment, a pilot program joined law enforcement and public heath into an exclusive partnership allowing trained police officers to administer Narcan to those experiencing an opioid overdose. The program created a new approach and outcome to the long-term wellbeing of the overdose victim, who are now seen as family members rather than carrying the stigmatized, dehumanizing label of “drug addict.” In October of 2010, all Quincy Police Officers completed training according to the guidelines set forth by the Department of Public Health, and the program was operational. This was indeed a lifesaving triumph, as the first overdose reversal quickly followed. Following the implementation of the new program, Quincy Police saw a 66 percent decrease in the death rate compared to the previous year officers were prevented from administering Narcan. The 300th reversal was recorded three years later in 2013 and the 500th recorded in April of 2016. The program has since been deemed “The Quincy Model” by Office National Drug Control Policy. In addition, the Massachusetts Good Samaritan Law was amended in 2012 to exclude from arrest an individual calling 911 for assistance for themselves or another in an opioid overdose state, a landmark decision. The second pioneering change allowed any person trained with a prescription for Narcan to administer without fear of civil action. These two intersecting major amendments created an atmosphere where the community now accepted the police as a public service rather than only an enforcement body with an astonishing sense of community and trust.