Berlin police chief’s goals to include drug report

Berlin police chief’s goals to include drug report


BERLIN — Police Chief Paul Fitzgerald said one of his primary goals this year is a town-wide report on drug issues.

“A lot has been discussed but now it will be on paper,” he said.

Police Commission Chairman Robert Peters said the fact that town officers administered the overdose medication naloxone 16 times over the last year was a cause for concern.

During a recent commission meeting, Peters advised Fitzgerald to look into studying where narcotics are being used in town.

Fitzgerald said the study will be an extension of current investigations.

Deputy Police Chief John Klett said last month a majority of the people revived with naloxone over the last year overdosed in private homes. A third of the revivals were reported to have occurred at motels and places around the Berlin Turnpike.

Peters said he wanted to look into billing residents who are given naloxone more than once.

The overdose reversal drug costs roughly $50 per dose. A supply of a dozen doses costs $600. The medication is ordered by the department and included in the budget under “operating materials.”

Fitzgerald said the idea will be researched, though it is rare that the medication is used more than once on the same person. One person has been administered naloxone by police on three occasions.

Not everyone is able to be saved.

“Some overdoses do result in death,” Fitzgerald said.

Four Berlin residents ranging from 52 to 72 years old died of opioid overdoses in 2015, according to the state Office of the Medical Examiner.

The first half of 2016 saw two deaths of Berlin residents ,ages 20 and 38. Fentanyl contributed to both deaths.

The town recently held a substance abuse panel at Berlin High School to discuss the nationwide crisis and how it has impacted the community.

Other goals for the year by Fitzgerald include a citizen’s academy, in which residents will be able to learn more about the department through various classes, and a new radio communication system.

Fitzgerald said the academy will likely start in the fall.