PEPPERELL — Police Chief David Scott announces that the Pepperell Police Department, just one week after completing the necessary training to deploy Narcan in its police cruisers, has already saved a life with the overdose-reversing drug,
Early Tuesday, at about 5:30 a.m., Pepperell Police Sergeant William Greathead was the first member of the department to use the new tool – and he saved a life. Pepperell Police and Fire were called to a residence where a 23-year-old male had reportedly overdosed on heroin. The subject was found by Sergeant Greathead and Officer Jared Carrubba on the floor and was unresponsive. Sergeant Greathead decided to use Narcan after recognizing the signs of an overdose that he recently learned at the training session all Pepperell Police Officers attended last week before Narcan was deployed.
The previously unresponsive subject opened his eyes and began responding to questions less than a minute later.
“Narcan is really an amazing drug,” Chief Scott said. “Without it, we would be talking about another overdose fatality in Pepperell. Instead, we are talking about a life saved. But, at the same time, we recognize that Narcan is only one tool in the fight against drugs and drug overdose.”
Opioid overdose is now one of the leading causes of death in Massachusetts, leading Governor Deval Patrick to declare it a public health crisis in March.
Narcan, the 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. Narcan is administered nasally, has few side effects, and it will not harm a patient who has not overdosed. Nasal Narcan does not use needles/sharps, further increasing its safety. Narcan can be used to reverse heroin overdose, as well as overdoses of OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, and hydrocodone drugs like Vicodin.
Though Sergeant Greathead was the one to deploy the Narcan this time, Chief Scott would also like to recognize Pepperell Firefighter/EMT Justin Zink and Paramedic Benjamin Simmons for all of their assistance getting the Narcan deployed in Pepperell cruisers.
“Firefighter Zink wrote a grant that paid for much of the start-up costs associated with the deployment of Narcan, and Paramedic Simmons trained the police officers to use it,” Chief Scott said. “They worked alongside Dr. Scott Murray at Nashoba Valley Medical Center and got it done correctly, and apparently just in time.”