Yesterday afternoon at town hall, the East Bridgewater Police and Fire Departments hosted a joint session to instruct community members on the deployment of Naloxone (also called Narcan), the opioid overdose reversal drug, in concert with basic CPR training.
The purpose of the training was to provide this basic training in Narcan and CPR to community members, which last night included town hall employees, East Bridgewater School District representatives and local business employees.
The East Bridgewater Board of Selectmen recently voted to have public Narcan kits, also called Naloxboxes, installed in town buildings in and around town, alongside public Automated External Defibrillator (AED) stations. Making Narcan publicly available has been a collaborative project between the East Bridgewater Police Department and EB HOPE (also now part of PCO HOPE), the town’s local substance use disorder (SUDs) coalition, over the past year.
It has also been an objective at the state Department of Public Health (DPH) to increase publicly available Narcan across the Commonwealth, as research has proven that when deployed quickly at overdose scenes, Narcan saves lives.
The training was led by EBPD Sergeant William Patterson, Fire Chief Timothy Harhen and Fire Captain Jeffrey Kelley. Chief of Police Scott Allen led off the training to the group of 15 attendees providing basic background information on the local opioid problem, the work of the police department with EB HOPE over the past 7 years and the collaboration of Plymouth County Outreach (PCO).
PCO is a county-wide initiative of all 27 municipal police departments and Bridgewater State University Police, with the Plymouth County District Attorney and Sheriff’s Department, working in collaboration with the region’s hospitals, healthcare agencies, treatment, recovery organizations, faith-based groups, recovery centers and local coalitions to connect those struggling with substance use disorders to long term treatment and recovery, while also providing support resources to family members and loved ones.
EB HOPE (PCO HOPE) Executive Director Susan Silva shared with the attendees her advocacy in founding EB HOPE, while addressing the stigma that is still ever present in society that prevents many persons from seeking treatment who are suffering from substance use disorders.
PCO Lead Recovery Coach Supervisor, Haley Kennedy, spoke with the group about her PCO role and that of other PCO Certified Recovery Coaches, who work alongside police officers across the county in conducting outreach work,, referring those struggling with SUDs to treatment and recovery resources.
Chief Harhen and Captain Kelley provided the emergency medical training with Sergeant Patterson providing his experience as a Narcan trainer. In attendance at the training was Town Administrator Brian Noble, Selectmen David Sheedy, Superintendent Elizabeth Legault and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Gina Williams.
Businesses participating at the training that have or will be deploying Naloxboxes in East Bridgewater included Club Ex of East Bridgewater and Honey Dew Donuts. The goal for this project is to increase public awareness and add new business locations that will host Naloxbox units. There is no cost for a business to sign onto this project. The Naloxbox units have been provided by EB HOPE through funding from the state DPH. Narcan will be provided for the units by the police department.
Any businesses or community members who would like to learn more about the Naloxbox initiative can contact Sergeant Patterson at 508-378-7223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.