This study assesses the impact of a law enforcement-based outreach and treatment referral program in New Castle County, Delaware.
This study evaluates the impact of a law enforcement-based outreach and treatment referral program known as Hero Help on the incidence and costs of overdoses occurring in the jurisdiction of Delaware’s New Castle County Division of Police (NCCPD) and finds evidence that police departments can reduce the incidence and economic burden of overdoses through outreach and referrals to treatment. To reduce opioid-involved overdoses, law enforcement agencies have taken proactive steps to connect people to treatment and supportive services. This study first compares observed and predicted fatal and nonfatal overdoses between 2013 and 2021. A time series analysis shows an average decrease of 7.25 nonfatal and 1.85 fatal overdoses per month since the program’s two expansions of its civilian care team. It then adapts Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health care cost data to estimate the cost reductions of fewer overdoses. These metrics suggest Hero Help saved the community $21.5 million per month. (Published Abstract Provided)