HCN News & Notes

Baystate Wing Hospital Partners with Palmer Police Department to Provide Naloxone

PALMER — Baystate Wing Hospital and the Palmer Police Department have joined forces in an effort to prevent opioid-related deaths by installing NaloxBoxes in accessible locations on campus. The installed boxes provide free public access to the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. NaloxBox, similar to mounted automated electronic defibrillators (AED), is a publicly available overdose-response tool made accessible to the general public.

“The NaloxBoxes have been installed at Baystate Wing Hospital in Emergency Department waiting room bathrooms and Entrance 3, the History Hallway. There is also a NaloxBox in the main lobby of the Griswold Center lobby,” said Danielle Olive, clinical program manager of Baystate Behavioral Health Griswold Center – Palmer. “Each box contains Narcan, the brand name of naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. The boxes have been installed in accessible areas that are open to the public so that, if someone is overdosing, a person or a loved one can immediately access the medication and administer it.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drugs take nearly 300 lives every day. Naloxone is a lifesaving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids, including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications, when given in time. Naloxone quickly reverses an overdose by blocking the effects of opioids. It can restore normal breathing within two to three minutes in a person whose breath has slowed, or even stopped, as a result of opioid overdose. More than one dose of naloxone may be required when stronger opioids like fentanyl are involved.

Olive and Palmer Police Sgt. David Burns are collaborating with the Northampton Department of Health and Human Services Drug Addiction Recovery Team and the Quaboag Hills Substance Use Alliance. They have been meeting and are planning to host events and forums in the future that will include community involvement. They are in the beginning stages of developing an Opioid Task Force with Baystate Wing team members that will work to address addiction-related issues and reduce stigma about substance use.

“As a police officer, I have seen first-hand the devastation of opioid addiction,” Burns said. “I firmly believe that, by working together, healthcare organizations, law enforcement, and community advocates can have a serious impact on substance use in our community. Our partnership is an effort to help to save lives and help with the adverse effects of those dealing with problematic substance use and substance-use disorder by beginning a regional collaboration.”

Karli Barrett, vice president, chief nursing officer, and chief administrative officer for Baystate Wing Hospital, added that “opioid abuse affects everyone. The NaloxBox placements give easy access to those in need and put the general public on notice that they too can save a life. We are proud to be a part of this collaborative effort to facilitate the delivery of this lifesaving medication and to continue collaborating with local partners to address the needs of our community. We are grateful to work closely with the Palmer Police Department, for their donation of the NaloxBoxes, and for their commitment to maintaining them.”