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May 5, 2014

Amesbury police to carry Narcan

Drug to be used to treat opiate overdoses

AMESBURY — With the influx of heroin reaching alarming proportions within the city, the local police department announced it has begun the process that will allow them to carry Narcan, the anti-opiate overdose drug also known as naloxone, in their cruisers.

Amesbury police Lt. William Scholtz said the decision was made based on a recent change in the Department of Health’s regulations, which encourages all first responders to have access to the life-saving drug. Also playing a part was Gov. Deval Patrick’s recent declaration of a “heroin emergency” within the state.

As part of the process, which is expected to be completed sometime this summer, police reached out to Amesbury emergency medical technicians who are already equipped with Narcan.

The local first responder project will be overseen by the Amesbury Fire Department, which is the lead agency responsible for EMS for the city. Amesbury works closely with Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, which has the medical oversight and medical authorization for the city, according to local fire officials.

Already, the Department of Public Health and Amesbury’s medical director have put together several safeguards to ensure the proper use of and treatment with Narcan. The use of Narcan, as with all medication, will need to follow all the same rules that are in place in Amesbury Fire Department’s Advanced Life Support program to keep the public safe, according to Amesbury fire Deputy Chief David Mather.

Local police will join Newburyport police in area departments that carry Narcan. Last month, Newburyport police Marshal Thomas Howard announced that every officer in his department recently became certified to administer the drug, paving the way for their addition into each cruiser’s defibrillator kit. Now should police arrive first at an overdose call, they won’t have to wait until an ambulance crew arrives, which will shave off precious seconds or minutes and save lives.

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