Lowell, Massachusetts

Addressing Opioid Abuse Through Adult and Juvenile Intervention Programs

Lowell CO-OP team photo

Lowell Patch

Site LE Agency
Lowell Police Department

Site Researcher
Robin Toof, Ph.D., Wilson Palacios, Ph.D., Melissa Morabito, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts at Lowell and Brenda Bond, Ph.D., Suffolk University

Site Focus
Opioid Overdoses, Property Crime

SPI Strategy
Multi-agency collaboration, Problem-oriented policing

Site Cohort

Site Profile
Mid-sized urban area of 13.58 sq. miles with a population of 109,729

Project Overview

The City of Lowell has been experiencing overwhelming increases in drug abuse—specifically, opioid overdose—for the last few decades. In 2015, almost 6 percent of residents (579 out of just over 109,000) experienced opioid overdoses, 46 of which were fatal. In just the first three months of 2016, Lowell experienced 23 confirmed opioid overdose fatalities. To respond to this crisis and provide overdose victims with substance abuse treatment and social services, Lowell has developed the multi-organizational Community Opiate Outreach Program (CO-OP). CO-OP will additionally include services for children affected by opioid overdoses in their families through Project CARE (Child Assessment & Response Evaluation).

Data Highlight

  • The City of Lowell experienced 579 opioid overdoses in 2015, 46 of which were fatal.
  • By March of 2016, Lowell had already experienced 23 confirmed opioid overdose fatalities.
  • The Lowell Community Opiate Outreach Program (CO-OP) and Child Assessment & Response Evaluation (Project CARE) aim to:
    • Reduce arrests and increase access to treatment for overdose victims.
    • Reduce the effects of trauma experienced by children impacted by opioid overdose.
    • Inform research, policy, and programs for adults and children impacted by opioid addiction.