The Milford Police Department will soon be among nearly half a dozen police departments in Massachusetts to equip its officers with Narcan, a drug used to counter the effects of opiate overdose.
In a recent letter to the Milford Board of Selectmen, Milford Police Chief Thomas J. O'Loughlin related that he is working with Dr. Eric Goedecke, a physician in the emergency department at Milford Regional Medical Center to deploy the treatment in an effort to curb any overdose-related incidents in Milford.
Moreover, once the department undergoes training, every officer in Milford who responds to an incident in which an individual has gone into respiratory arrest due to opiate overdoes will have the ability to administer Narcan, O'Loughlin wrote in the letter, a copy of which Milford Police submitted to Milford Patch.
"Today, opiate overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in Massachusetts," O'Loughlin wrote. "In fact, Massachusetts has recorded 185 overdose deaths since Nov. 1, 2013. fatal and non-fatal overdose can result from the abuse of opiates such as heroin, morphine, fontanel, oxymoron, OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, hydrocodone and Vicodin."
Narcan, also known as Naloxone, has been available as an injectable treatment since the 1960s but was recently developed as a nasal spray, he added.
"Although it is a controlled drug, it has no euphoric properties and minimal side effects," O'Loughlin wrote. "So, if, for instance, it is administered to a person who is not suffering an opiate overdose, it will do no harm to them."
Physicians from Milford Regional Medical Center will provide the training to Milford officers, which will include topics related to the cause of opiate overdose, as well as details on signs and symptoms of overdose, and the administration of Narcan using a nasal applicator.
Once training has completed, Goedecke will issue a prescription for Narcan to Milford Police, who will also work with Community Ambulance Service to replace any Narcan that is used by officers.
"It is my understanding that the Milford Police Department will be the fifth police department in Massachusetts to equip its officers with the means and training to medically reverse opiate overdoses," O'Loughlin wrote. "I am pleased that the officers will have one more tool to assist people in need and in protecting human life."