TEWKSBURY, MA – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Tewksbury Chief of Police Timothy Sheehan have announced that they will host a free training on how to administer the overdose-reversal drug nasal naloxone, commonly referred to by the brand name, Narcan. Doses of Narcan will be provided to participants.
The training will take place on Monday, April 9, from 12:30pm to 2pm, at the Tewksbury Public Library (300 Chandler Street).
District Attorney Ryan and Tewksbury Police have taken a number of proactive steps to address the opioid epidemic. Since last year the Greater Lowell region has seen a decrease in the number of fatal overdoses; however Tewksbury Police and other first responders continue to respond to non-fatal overdoses. Tewksbury Police Department personnel responded to roughly 100 reported drug overdoses each of the last two years with the number of suspected related fatalities decreasing slightly from 15 in 2016 to 14 in 2017.
According to Tewksbury Chief of Police Sheehan, “The tragic number of fatalities recorded in 2017 had come in a year when all Police and Fire Department vehicles were equipped with the opioid antagonist/reversal drug Narcan and when it was administered in roughly 55 percent of the reported overdoses. The harsh reality is the number of related fatalities could easy have quadrupled had it not been for this adopted harm reduction strategy that spares families loss and offers opportunity for treatment.”
“In Middlesex County we have seen an increase in the people using opioids in their homes often when others are present and suffering an overdose. If you have a loved one with a narcotic substance use disorder you should attend this training to learn how to administer nasal naloxone if you see someone show symptoms of an overdose. Being able to immediately administer this opioid reversing drug could make the difference in saving a life,” said District Attorney Ryan.
Using revenue from drug forfeitures the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has already provided 292 doses of Narcan to first responders and school nurses in Tewksbury.
This training is a part of the ongoing efforts by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and Tewksbury Police to address the opioid epidemic. The Tewksbury Police Department is also a member of the Lowell Opiate Task Force that brings together officials from area law enforcement agencies, healthcare providers, educational institutions, human-service non-profits, and lawmakers meet on a regular basis to discuss how to best share their knowledge and collaboratively work on drug prevention initiatives in the Greater Lowell region. Tewksbury Police and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office have formed a partnership to investigate and prosecute large-scale drug distributors. In November of 2017, a joint investigation with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, the Tewksbury Police Department and State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office netted 1,049 grams (1.05 kilo) of cocaine and 558 grams of fentanyl with an estimated street value of approximately $100,000.
To date Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office have responded to two fatal opioid overdoses in 2018 in Tewksbury.
(NOTE: The above press release is from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and Tewksbury Police Department.)