Chelmsford Police Department Deploys "Narcan" in all Police Cruisers and Train all Officers to Administer Lifesaving Drug
New Police Policy Recognizes Public Health Component of Opioid Abuse Crisis in Communities
CHELMSFORD -- Police Chief James Murphy today announced that the department has taken the proactive public safety step of putting Narcan (Nasal Naloxone) in all police cars town-wide.
The department is also instituting a training regimen that will teach all members of the department how to recognize the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose, as well as how to administer Narcan to victims of overdose. The program is part of the Chelmsford Police Department's commitment to public health as well as its commitment to law enforcement.
The policy takes effect today.
“As public servants, we need to take a multifaceted approach to the heroin epidemic plaguing our communities. It isn't enough to simply arrest people. This is a public health emergency, and now we have a tool that will prevent the loss of life,” Chief Murphy said. “The heroin and opioid crisis affects virtually every city and town, and I am proud that Chelmsford officers will carry Narcan in their cruisers.”
All Chelmsford police officers are certified First Responders, which is a requirement for administering Narcan on the job. About half of the members of the department are further certified as Emergency Medical Technicians.
“Police officers are often the first people on scene during an overdose or other medical emergency. Narcan has the power to bring people back from the brink of death with no adverse effects. It is safe for the patient, and safe for the police officer administering it,” said Chelmsford Deputy Police Chief James Spinney. “Narcan will be a vital tool in our community's fight against heroin.”
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 does not cause harm if it is administered to a person who has not overdosed on opioids. It is administered nasally and does not use needles/sharps.
Narcan can be used to reverse heroin overdose, but is effective against all opioids, including OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, and hydrocodone drugs like Vicodin.
The Chelmsford Police Department is authorized to outfit its officers to administer Narcan under M.G.L. c. 94C and M.G.L. 258C. The department is conducting this program through an affiliation with Lowell General Hospital and under Medical Control Physician, Dr. Jonathan Drake.
Lieutenant Dan Ahern, who is in charge of training in the Chelmsford Police Department, will oversee the program.
To Editors -- Lieutenant Ahern and Chief Murphy are available for interviews and on-camera.