Chief James G. Downes III
23 Pleasant Street
PO Box 154
Dunstable, MA 01827
For Immediate Release
Friday, June 6, 2014
Contact: John Guilfoil
Dunstable Police Department Deploys Nasal Narcan in Every Patrol Car
Latest Department to Implement Lifesaving Measures for Opioid Overdose
Statewide Health Crisis
DUNSTABLE — Police Chief James G. Downes III announces that the Dunstable Police Department will now carry Nasal Naloxone (Narcan) in all police cruisers.
This latest move makes Dunstable an early adopter in an emergency healthcare trend, aimed at saving lives during opioid overdoses.
“We see the clear danger to life and safety presented by the opioid problem that has swept the nation,” Chief Downes said. “As police, we have to attack this crisis from multiple fronts. We need to find and target suppliers, treat addiction, and prevent the loss of life, and as police officers, we are usually the first ones on the scene of an overdose. Now, we can do something about it.”
Heroin and opioid overdose are leading causes of death in Massachusetts, leading Governor Deval Patrick to declare it a public health crisis in March. Dunstable is one of the first police departments in Northern Middlesex County to carry Narcan in all of its cruisers.
Narcan joins the emergency medicine toolbox carried by Dunstable Police Officers, which includes Epinephrine autoinjectors (EpiPen) and automated external defibrillators in every police cruiser.
The department received training by the Office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and is carrying Narcan with the help and advice of the department’s EMS physician, Dr. Jonathan Drake, of Lowell General Hospital, who is also a Dunstable resident.
Narcan, a brand name for the drug Naloxone, is an “opioid antagonist,” which means it displaces opioid from receptors in the brain and can immediately reverse the effects of an overdose. It has few side effects, and it will not harm a patient who has not overdosed. Nasal Narcan does not use needles/sharps, further increasing its safety. Narcan can be used to reverse heroin overdose, as well as overdoses of OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, and hydrocodone drugs like Vicodin.
The Dunstable Police Department is authorized to outfit its officers to administer Narcan under M.G.L. c. 94C and M.G.L. 258C.