ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — A report by the Attleboro Police Department shows the city has seen an increase in drug overdoses within the past year, especially at the high school.
According to the report, overdoses are up 4% from 2017 to 2018. The report says white millennial men continue to be the most prevalent.
One location that police say had one of the largest number of overdoses was at Attleboro High School, which had seven last year.
“We want to get to the point where we’re not on the radar for that kind of data,” Bill Runey, the principal of the high school said.
Runey said the increased overdoses shows the increased need for education around drug use in the school.
“You never want to lead the league in a statistic like that,” Runey said. “But we are the largest public entity in the city, so statistically it would stand to reason that we would have more instances however that doesn’t mitigate the situation.”
Police said all of the incidents happened during school hours and all of the victims were students. While there were seven total victims, there were not seven different incidents.
According to police, some of those victims experienced more than one overdose. In all but one of the cases, edibles with marijuana were to blame even though they’re not usually associated with overdoses.
Police considered the incidents overdoses since they were called and ambulances were needed to transport the victims. Stevens said in 2016 and 2017 there were no incidents like this.
“We consider that medically necessary enough that we consider it an overdose,” Attleboro Crime Analyst Anthony Stevens said. “These are surprising findings, so we want to look a little bit further into them.”
While there were 12 reported overdose deaths last year, which is a decrease from 69%, the report revealed there were some observations in the report that were increasing.
The report also showed there was a rise in women victims, an escalation of events in public spaces and increases in repeat victims and locations.
The use of Narcan was documented in 52% of police incident reports, which is up from 33% of reported incidents in 2017. That year, the average number of Narcan administrations noted in police reports was two.