Community Context and Challenges

  • In Essex County, where Danvers is located, unintentional deaths from opioid overdose increased from 48 in 2010 to 146 in 2014; Essex County now has the fourth highest number of opioid-related deaths in the state.

  • Residents enjoy nearly universal (98%) health insurance coverage and access to health providers.

  • Danvers provides shelter for approximately 8% of the 2,100 homeless families in the state who live in motel housing, sparking criticism from some residents who believe Danvers bears a heavy burden in housing homeless families.

Community Actions: A First Look

While health indicators for Danvers residents often exceed state and national averages, the community is no less committed to improving population health.

Local initiatives to improve public health, wellness, and access to physical activity underscore Danvers’ responsiveness to community input.

These baseline reports, created in 2016, reflect our initial observations on select community programs and initiatives to gauge ongoing, as well as newer, efforts to improve community health. Future reports will provide more in-depth insights and analysis into this community's activities.

Going Forward: Questions for Consideration

Danvers’ history of civic engagement has produced successes in promoting public health and well-being. Additional surveillance, data and information gathering, analysis, and reporting will examine the extent to which community engagement can be successfully applied to more complex health challenges, such as homelessness and addiction.

The following questions provide opportunities for further exploration:

  • To what extent have challenges evident in surrounding communities, such as opioid overdose, affected residents of Danvers? To what extent have established community groups, such as DanversCARES, developed a response?

  • What impact has the collaboration between Danvers, Gloucester, and Beverly had on reducing the rate of unintentional deaths from opioid overdose? Which initiatives have been particularly successful?

  • How successful have the recent rules been to raise the legal age of tobacco purchase to 21 and restrict use of tanning beds to age 18? What levels of enforcement have been required?

  • With the reduction in homeless families living in area motels, has Danvers addressed some of the social and economic challenges of the area’s homeless or near-homeless populations? To what extent have local or regional efforts emerged to find affordable housing or employment for these residents?