The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) issued an advisory yesterday to Boston health care providers alerting them about concerning levels of presumed opioid-related overdoses in Nubian Square among individuals who believed they were using cocaine.
BPHC attributes these overdoses to the increasing presence of fentanyl within the cocaine supply. In 2021, the State detection program found 12% of cocaine samples tested in Boston flagged positive for fentanyl.
“Fentanyl is a highly dangerous substance that even in small amounts can lead to a fatal overdose, so we urge all residents, health care providers, recovery workers, and outreach workers to remain vigilant for signs of opioid overdose, including among individuals who use cocaine,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “If you believe that someone has overdosed, call 911 immediately and administer naloxone (Narcan). BPHC offers harm reduction services to reduce the risk of fatal overdose, including naloxone (Narcan) distribution, drug testing and trainings on how to respond to an overdose. All our services are offered in compassionate and judgement free environments.”
Drug testing for fentanyl, naloxone, and overdose prevention and training are available to all through BPHC’s Access, Harm Reduction, Overdose Prevention and Education Program (AHOPE). Individuals struggling with substance use, as well as their friends and families are encouraged to utilize these harm reduction services. Additionally, BPHC’s Providing Access to Addictions Treatment, Hope and Support (PAATHS) program offers clinical treatment resources and referrals for treatment and recovery services.
For more information about harm reduction and treatment services, please visit boston.gov/recovery or call 311