Lifesaving, free Narcan (Naloxone) distribution available from County Ambulance Service
PITTSFIELD MARCH 23, 2023 — Someone in Berkshire County overdoses on opioids every day. 374 overdoses deaths and over 386 overdose related EMS responses occurred in Berkshire County in 2022. Fatal overdoses almost always involve opioids, more than one substance, and the synthetic and very deadly opioid fentanyl.
County Ambulance Service is a member of The HEALing Communities study in Pittsfield and is ramping up efforts to distribute Narcan (Naloxone) nasal spray through an easy pickup system of Narcan kits being provided free to residents as part of the study.
“No one should die from an overdose, and naloxone is one of the most effective tools we have to save lives. But sadly, today, people with substance use disorders are overdosing and dying because Naloxone is not readily available, “ said Brian K. Andrews President of County Ambulance. “We aim to create a stigma-free and safe environment for people to engage and learn about how they can protect themselves and others in case of an opioid overdose emergency.” County Ambulance has developed an easy online form that only takes a minute to complete, does not involve any personal information, needs no insurance information and is free. Requestors will receive a small wallet type kit containing 2 doses of Narcan, a rescue mask, fentanyl test strips and valuable resource cards including instructions for use.
Narcan (Naloxone) can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and save someone’s life. Anyone can and should administer this nasal spray if they suspect any type of overdose. If no opioids were involved, Narcan would not harm the person, it just wouldn’t have any effect. Since we know that many substances are now mixed with fentanyl, often without the user’s knowledge, it is even more important that people don’t use alone and have someone nearby who carries Narcan. Narcan reverses the effects of fentanyl, but since it is 50-100 times stronger than heroin, even small amounts can lead to an overdose. It may require multiple doses of Narcan to revive a person, which makes it crucial to call 911 when you witness an overdose, even after you started administering Narcan. The Good Samaritan Law protects you when you call 911, when you see or experience a drug overdose, and in administration of Narcan.
The HEALing Communities team continues to analyze overdose data in Pittsfield and North Adams to identify neighborhoods and areas that are especially hard hit. Based on this overdose mapping and in partnership with neighborhood stores, businesses, and community agencies, we meet people where they are, can offer Narcan training, and can offer them Narcan kit containing two doses and information about local addiction treatment and recovery services.
Pittsfield and surrounding community residents can request a free Narcan kit that they can pick up at County Ambulance by filling out a convenient online form at https://countyamb.biz/narcan . When the form is received by County Ambulance staff, they will place the Narcan kit in a pickup box located on the front door of their headquarters located at 175 Wahconah St. Staff will then notify the requesting party that their Narcan kit is available for pickup and they can proceed to 175 Wahconah St. and anonymously pick up the kit from the pickup box eliminating any stigma about getting Narcan.
County Ambulance is also participating in the innovative program of Leave Behind Narcan at any call involving a potential overdose. Upon responding to a call involving an overdose staff will offer a kit to on scene bystanders in the event someone has used their Narcan or as a preventative measure for any possible future overdoses.
We can all be first responders by carrying and administering Narcan and give people suffering from opioid use disorder another chance to seek help and start their recovery journey. It could be a family member, friend, or co-worker. Remember, the only thing you cannot recover from is death.
About County Ambulance Service
Since 1982 County Ambulance Service has been a regional leader in advancing quality ambulance care. County Ambulance is a family and locally owned private ambulance service providing ambulance service to the City of Pittsfield and Berkshire County. The company employs over 75 employees in their ambulance, billing and training division in two locations in Berkshire County. County Ambulance is the largest ambulance company in Berkshire County providing emergency 9-1-1 ambulance service to the City of Pittsfield and paramedic services to ambulance services and healthcare facilities throughout Berkshire County.
About the HEALing Communities Study
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimates that 2.1 million Americans have OUD, yet fewer than 20% of those individuals receive specialty care in a given year. A menu of evidence-based practices (EBPs) exists, including opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution programs, prescription drug monitoring programs, FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), behavioral therapies, and recovery support services. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) launched the HEALing Communities Study (HCS) to investigate and identify the EBPs for preventing and treating OUD that are most effective at the local level. The goal of the study is to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths by 40 percent over the course of three years.