Narcan Used by More First Responders in Massachusetts
(WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) (WGGB)–The heroin reversal drug Narcan is being used by more and more first responders across Massachusetts and lives are being saved.
West Springfield recently became the first fire department in Western Massachusetts to equip fire engines not just ambulances with Narcan.
It’s as simple as a quick spray of Narcan into the nose of someone who has overdosed to bring them from the brink of death and back to life.
Last month, the West Springfield fire department equipped its fire engines with Narcan, which already had been used in fire department ambulances in town since 2000,”The transition’s been great, the members have really accepted it and they’re willing to do what’s right for the community,” says William Flaherty, West Springfield Fire Chief.
Whether firefighters are responding on a fire truck or in a fire department ambulance, they are ready to administer Narcan to save a life,”I know one incident was last Friday , the school department started a new coalition, 10 minutes before that meeting, the ambulance went out for a heroin overdose and the ambulance did provide Narcan to that patient,” says Chief Flaherty.
Last week Governor Patrick declared a statewide public health emergency to combat the growing use of opiates.
He directed first responders like fire, police and emergency personnel to carry Narcan.
West Springfield is ahead of the curve,”We’ve had I believe 36 uses of Narcan last year so we do see it as a problem not just in one section of the community but throughout the whole town,” says Flaherty.
Chief Flaherty says the availability of Narcan in the fire department is about providing the best possible service for the community.
Part of that service involves giving firefighters the tools they need to combat drug overdoses.