45 Opiate Overdoses Reported in Brockton, Massachusetts, Last Week

Brockton, Massachusetts, is a city in crisis.

Between Wednesday and Saturday of last week, 45 people overdosed on opiates, and all saved by Narcan.

Mayor Bill Carpenter says the numbers are staggering.

"We average about three overdoses per day. Today we've had four," he said.

And if you look over three year period, the number of drug deaths are shocking. In 2013, 72 Brockton residents died by overdosing. In 2014 that number dropped to 69, but in 2015 it spiked: 123 people died by overdosing that year, and numbers like that have fast tracked Brockton's plan to curb drug overdoses and the greater drug problem in the City of Champions.

It's called the Champions Plan and it is based off a similar plan in Gloucester, which allows drug addicts to turn themselves in, and as opposed to getting arrested and charged, they get help. At the plan’s core are places like Brockton's Men's Teen Challenge.

“When there is someone who is in need of help we are going to be able to respond or go out and meet the individual who is seeking help and after we meet with them we'll be able to get them into a program," says Teen Challenge’s Vice President Oscar Cruz, Jr.

Teen Challenge's program is 15 months of in-house, 24 hours-a-day care aimed at taking addicts and turning them into addiction survivors.

Not only is Cruz the vice president of teen challenge but he’s also a recovering addicts.

"I've been in recovery for over 10 years. I'm a Teen Challenge graduate. And I can totally understand, I can relate to an individual who is struggling," he said.

Right now Teen Challenge has 60 rooms. A project underway will bring that up to 90 and a future project will offer 46 more, bringing the total to 136 two-person rooms to help fight an epidemic that knows no socio-economic class or age.

But Cruz says this is only a start.

"It's not enough. We need to do more. We need to be more intentional. We need to be very proactive. There's a problem. And by ignoring it it's not going to go away," he said.

Click here if you'd like to donate or help Teen Challenge. 

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