Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019
Media Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Plymouth County Outreach Supports Bill to Provide Civilians Greater Access to Overdose-Reversing Medications
The Police Chiefs of Plymouth County announce that Plymouth County Outreach (PCO) is supporting a bill filed last week that would allow law enforcement officers — in addition to medically trained personnel — to provide civilians with the overdose-reversing drug Narcan (naloxone) and train them on how to administer the drug.
Bill SD.1414, “An Act Relative to Furthering the Success of Opiate Intervention Programs,” was filed on Jan. 17 by State Senator Walter F. Timilty. The bill was co-sponsored by State Senator Viriato M. deMacedo and State Representative Alyson M. Sullivan. Since its filing, State Senator Michael D. Brady, State Senator John F. Keenan and State Representative Matthew J. Muratore have also co-sponsored the bill. All of the bill’s current sponsors represent communities in Plymouth County.
If passed, the law would allow police officers to train people how to use Narcan and give civilians doses of the medication to use in the event of a person overdosing.
“Currently, only medically trained professionals, like doctors, nurses, firefighters and treatment center workers are able to provide people with Narcan and give them the training,” Plymouth Police Chief Michael Botieri said. “As police officers who are on the front lines dealing with the opioid crisis, we believe our officers should have the ability to further help someone before they overdose.”
East Bridgewater Police Chief Scott Allen said, “Right now, when we are at an outreach follow-up visit with our officers and recovery coaches, if an overdose survivor or their family members need Narcan, we have to refer them to a local outreach organization like BAMSI, a drop-in center or Learn to Cope. That person might not go to one of the treatment centers until later that day or the next week or at all. Maybe they change their mind. Maybe they can’t get a ride. And we have effectively closed that window of opportunity to help someone who is seeking help right then and there.”
Seeing firsthand how similar scenarios have played out during PCO post-overdose outreach follow-up visits, the Police Chiefs of Plymouth County shared their concerns with Sen. Timilty, Sen. deMacedo and State Rep. Sullivan late last year, and they took the initiative in filing the bill. If passed, the change in the law would assist outreach teams, who are on the front lines across the state, and would be able to provide tools, like Narcan, to a vulnerable community at a more opportune time. Individuals who have overdosed have a high risk of suffering another overdose.
“Outreach teams have been engaging overdose victims and their families with a high rate of success, across the Commonwealth,” Sen. Timilty said. “By enabling these teams to provide naloxone to those who may be affected by an overdose, and training them on how to administer it, there is the hope that the outreach teams would be even more successful in their life-saving efforts.”
The Police Chiefs of Plymouth County offer their full support of the bill and hope to see police departments in communities throughout the state reach out to their local politicians and ask them to co-sponsor the bill and help raise awareness of this critical issue. The PCO Chiefs are asking all of their State Senators and State Representatives to sign on and support this bill.
“I have seen firsthand the difference Plymouth County Outreach has made in my community in helping those suffering from substance use,” Sen. deMacedo said. “It is my hope that this legislation will give those on the front lines greater access to the tools they need to save lives in our communities and across the state.”
State Rep. Sullivan said, “This key piece of legislation which has been filed in both the House and Senate, will be another step forward in the battle against the horrible opioid epidemic. Taking this proactive and aggressive approach will provide another necessary tool for our first responders and outreach teams. I look forward to working with Senator Timilty, Senator deMacedo, Chief Allen, Chief Botieri and members of PCO to advocate on behalf of this bill in continuing the fight against the opioid epidemic. I encourage my colleagues in both the House and Senate to support this legislation.”
Chief Allen said, “We are very thankful to see that our dialogue with Senator Timilty, Senator deMacedo and State Representative Sullivan has come to fruition as a bill and we are thankful for their support in getting this bill drafted. Hopefully it goes through the legislature and gets passed into law, giving our residents more access to this live-saving drug.”
About Plymouth County Outreach: Plymouth County Outreach is a collaborative of police departments throughout Plymouth County led by the following chiefs: Abington Chief David Majenski, Bridgewater Chief Christopher Delmonte, Bridgewater State University Chief David Tillinghast, Brockton Chief John Crowley, Brockton Police Lt. Richard Linehan, Carver Chief Marc Duphily, Duxbury Chief Matthew Clancy, East Bridgewater Chief Scott Allen, Halifax Chief Joao Chaves, Hanover Chief Walter Sweeney, Hanson Chief Michael Miksch, Hingham Chief Glenn Olsson, Hull Chief John Dunn, Kingston Chief Maurice Splaine, Lakeville Chief Frank Alvihiera, Marion Chief John Garcia, Marshfield Chief Phillip Tavares, Mattapoisett Chief Mary Lyons, Middleboro Chief Joseph Perkins, Norwell Chief Ted Ross, Pembroke Chief Richard Wall, Plymouth Chief Michael Botieri, Plympton Chief Patrick Dillon, Rochester Chief Robert Small, Rockland Chief John Llewellyn, Scituate Chief Michael Stewart, Wareham Chief John Walcek, West Bridgewater Chief Victor Flaherty and Whitman Chief Scott D. Benton.