Fall River mayor looks to take action after spike in overdose deaths

SE Mass

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) ─ After receiving word that three of his former students at Durfee High School recently died of an overdose, Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan is now looking for ways to combat the opioid epidemic.

Coogan said he knew the victims well from his time serving as vice principal of the high school.

The news, Coogan said, reinforces the need to help those who are struggling with addiction.

“We looked at the numbers last year, we lost 63 residents,” Coogan said. “The year before, we lost 55…That number has to be zero before I’m happy.”

Coogan said the sudden spike in overdoses occurred over the weekend, and now he’s actively working on new initiatives to assist residents citywide.

“We have looked a few ideas, bringing an inhouse to our Department of Public Health…and maybe have some monitoring,” Coogan said. “We aren’t sure how it will fall out yet, but we are getting on top of this as soon as we can.”

In the meantime, he is encouraging residents who are struggling with addiction to carry Narcan with them at all times in case of an overdose.

He said Narcan is available for free at Seven Hills Behavioral Health on South Main Street, and at pharmacies and other locations throughout the city.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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