The following is a press release from the mayor’s office.
FRAMINGHAM – Ashland, Framingham, Hudson and Natick are leading the way to increase community access to naloxone (sold under the brand name Narcan), a lifesaving prescription medication used to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.
The MetroWest Health Department Naloxone Program, coordinated by the Framingham Health Department, is a collaborative effort between the four communities to make naloxone available through their respective municipal health departments. This pioneer program in the state was created with funding from the MetroWest Health Foundation.
Opioids, such as Heroin and Fentanyl, are narcotic pain relievers as well as prescription medications, such as Oxycontin and Percocet. An opioid overdose can be fatal because opioids bind to the receptors in the brain that are responsible for breathing. Naloxone works by binding to these same receptors, reversing the opioid’s effect and restoring breathing. The effectiveness of naloxone is dependent on the timeliness of administration. The faster naloxone can be administered to an overdosing individual; the greater the likelihood there is to keep that person alive so they may receive emergency care. The emergence of highly potent synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, often necessitates multiple doses of naloxone to reverse an overdose. Naloxone is safe and has no potential for abuse.
In partnership with the Justice Resource Institute’s Program, Rise, staff members at each Health Department have undergone training to provide overdose prevention education and instruction on how to administer naloxone. Individuals will be able to obtain a naloxone kit with two intranasal doses of the medication as well as guidance and direction at their local health department by private appointment. Organizations or businesses interested in arranging overdose prevention training and naloxone kits for their employees may contact their local health department. Both of these free services are available to anyone who lives or works in Ashland, Framingham, Hudson, or Natick.
Training community members and organizations on how to recognize and respond to an overdose is essential when practicing first aid, and is as important as learning to do CPR or operate an AED. By utilizing the Health Department as a key access point for the community to obtain naloxone and opioid overdose education, the public will be better equipped and empowered with the knowledge and tools necessary to help save lives.
“Every life is precious and worth saving,” says James White, Director of Public Health at the Natick Health Department. “We will do everything within our power to save lives in the hope that people will seek treatment and long-term recovery.”
Massachusetts state law allows for an individual to obtain and carry naloxone with the intention to administer it to another person. Through the statewide standing order, naloxone is available for anyone to purchase at participating pharmacies.
For more information about this program or community resources and other places that you can access naloxone, please call:
Ashland Health Department (508) 881-0100 x7128
Framingham Health Department (508) 532-5470
Hudson Health Department (978) 562-2020
Natick Health Department (508) 647-6460