Springfield Police officers began carrying nasal Naloxone (Narcan) on March 19th, 2019.
The medication is attached to the automated external defibrillator (AED) in every marked, unmarked and undercover car used by the department so that each of the approximately 500 sworn officers who have access to an AED also have access to Narcan. Additionally, Narcan is available to all bureaus and in all satellite locations, and is located throughout the public safety complex.
"The Narcan kits are a critical tool for officers to have at their disposal and to be able to use at a moment's notice, especially as police officers are oftentimes first on the scene for many types of calls,” said Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood. She continues, “Implementing the Narcan program was one of my first initiatives when named acting commissioner in February 2019. Our officers have saved more than 400 lives in our community in the past four years which speaks to both the success of the program, but also the extent of this opioid crisis. As more heroin and other drugs become laced with the deadly opioid fentanyl, it is imperative that we continue to do our part in fighting this epidemic.”
Proper use of the medication is taught to officers during the police academy as well as each year during in-service training. As part of the training, officers learn the appropriate circumstances for Narcan use, how to administer doses and proper disposal methods after a dose is given.
Narcan, an opioid antagonist, can quickly reverse the effects of a potentially fatal painkiller or heroin overdose by binding to opioid receptors and reversing or blocking the effects of other opioids, quickly restoring normal breathing. Narcan is not dangerous if administered to a person who is not overdosing and it has no potential for abuse.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts decreased in the first nine months of 2022 compared to the same time last year, according to preliminary data. In the first nine months of this year, there were 1,696 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths, approximately 25 fewer deaths than in the first nine months of 2021, or a 1.5 percent decrease. Fentanyl continues to be the main driver of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts. In the first six months of 2022, fentanyl was present in 94 percent of opioid-related deaths where a toxicology report was available, preliminary data show.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “God Bless our brave and dedicated men and women of the Springfield Police Department. Day in and day out our SPD officers continue to do their job of serving and protecting our community. This has never been more evident than with the increase in opioid-related overdoses. Thanks to our SPD carrying Narcan, they can immediately respond to these unfortunate situations and save lives and just as important, steer them towards recovery program assistance. Since SPD started carrying Narcan in their vehicles over 400 lives have been saved, a testament to their selfless service to our community and those in need.”