The abuse of opiates, both legal and illegal, has reached crisis proportions. Overdoses of opioid drugs are epidemic. The United States Government National Institute for Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in 2018 that Arizona had 103 to 270 suspected drug overdoses (with or without a fatality) per week. In the United States, 115 Americans die every day after overdosing on opioids. The Town of Superior Police Department is working to help prevent fatal overdoses.
Two members of the Town of Superior Police Department have joined the Pinal County Overdose Fatality Review Board (OFRB). This is the first time that the Superior Police Department has had staff members appointed to the OFRB. The OFRB members from the Superior P.D. are Joyce Lopez, Administrative Assistant, and Sergeant Sam Sosa.
The Overdose Fatality Review Board is a team of professionals that review fatal drug-related overdose fatalities. The Board looks for mitigation factors that first responders, public health and healthcare practitioners can implement to prevent or decrease the incidence of preventable drug overdose fatalities.
“The Board puts us at the table (Pinal County Health Services) to present what we see and work with other professionals in putting into place common sense programs/projects that can have a real impact on people in Pinal County and hopefully throughout the state,” explained Lopez.
Another task of the OFRB is educating the public about the incidence and causes of drug overdose deaths and what the public can do to help prevent these deaths. The Superior Police Department is working with the Arizona Youth Partnership in Superior to help them educate students about drug and alcohol abuse before it becomes a problem.
“The Department believes in solving problems,” said Police Chief Frank Alanis. “By joining committees such as these, it gives the Superior Police Department the ability to pursue solutions that can make a big difference. I am proud of Joyce and Sgt. Sosa for taking the lead. This is not an easy committee to sit on and their willingness to represent SPD shows the high level of dedication they have for our community.”