EAST BRIDGEWATER — Chief Scott Allen and the East Bridgewater Police Department would like to notify residents that the department and local non-profit EB HOPE are partnering with local businesses to provide increased public access to the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.
Three East Bridgewater businesses have signed up to participate in the Naloxbox program, which involves installing a medical box on a wall inside of each business, containing doses of naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, and instructions on how to administer the drug if someone is overdosing.
The businesses who are currently participating in the new program are Lifestyle Vape, 626 Bedford St.; Vape Solutions, 687 N. Bedford St.; and Hi-Lo Gas, 475 Bedford Street. Any East Bridgewater business owners who are interested in having a Naloxbox installed in their business should contact Sgt. Bill Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 508-378-7223.
“Last year in Plymouth County alone there were 121 overdose deaths reported to have occurred within the county, with a total of 153 Plymouth County residents fatally overdosing throughout the state. One overdose death is one too many and our department is working every day to find ways to combat the ongoing opioid crisis,” Chief Allen said. “In order to increase the accessibility of Narcan, we hope to see many businesses participate in the Naloxbox program, and we will eventually be looking to expand the program to town-owned and operated buildings as well.”
Though East Bridgewater Police and EB HOPE have seen more and more residents seeking treatment recently, East Bridgewater had four suspected fatal overdoses last year, the same number as 2017.
On a more positive note, East Bridgewater saw nearly a 50 percent increase of at-risk persons seeking help through Plymouth County Outreach’s (PCO) proactive model. An at-risk person is someone who self-identifies to the police department or is referred by a family member or loved one for treatment assistance from East Bridgewater’s PCO Outreach Team. The outreach team includes a plainclothes outreach police officer and certified recovery coach. The outreach team connects these at-risk individuals with treatment options, prior to an overdose incident occurring.
“Despite more individuals seeking treatment and assistance through the program, the department continues to see people struggling with substance use disorders and there is still a lot of work to do,” Chief Allen said. “The Naloxbox program is an innovative way to help make naloxone more readily available to the general public. We can’t thank Susan Silva and the EB HOPE/PCO HOPE Board for their continued volunteer commitment to helping those struggling with substance use disorders as well as assisting their family members and loved ones.”
Each Naloxbox unit contains at least one dose of 4mg nasal naloxone (Narcan), nitrile gloves and a face mask. Each cabinet is labeled on the sides and front to indicate that it is an Overdose Emergency Unit. The Naloxbox also includes instruction manuals providing step-by-step details about how to administer Narcan in the event of an overdose.
In addition, each business or property owner that participates in the program will be trained in overdose recognition, Narcan administration and CPR.
In order to implement a safe and responsible Naloxbox program, the East Bridgewater Police Department has established and maintains a professional affiliation with a Medical Control Physician (MCP) who will provide medical oversight over its use and administration. The MCP has the discretion make recommendations regarding the policy, oversight, and administration of the nasal naloxone program developed and implemented by the police department. East Bridgewater’s MCP is Brockton’s Signature Healthcare, Dr. Daniel Muse, who is also a Chiefs Advisory Board member for PCO.
Funding for the Naloxbox program comes to the EBPD through EB HOPE. For the second year in a row, EB HOPE has received earmarked funds from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to be used on initiatives to support the organization and its community partners, like the East Bridgewater Police.
Naloxbox is a Rhode Island-based non-profit that works with police departments, communities and businesses to install the medical boxes in various locations. There are currently over 50 Naloxboxes installed throughout Rhode Island.
To learn more about the Naloxbox program, please visit the organization’s website www.naloxbox.org.
Chief Allen would like to remind residents to always call 911 in the event of an overdose and to get the overdose victim emergency medical help as soon as possible. It is critically important to call 911 for all overdoses because it has been proven to save lives. The Massachusetts Good Samaritan Law encourages friends, family, or bystanders to assist people having an overdose and to seek emergency medical assistance. The law protects victims and those who call 911 for help from charge, prosecution and conviction for possession or use of controlled substances.
More information about the Good Samaritan Law can be found the state’s website.