Opiate overdose antidote becoming more prevalent in Wareham

By Lydia Goerner | Aug 02, 2017
Photo by: Lydia Goerner CVS Pharmacy is now selling naloxone without requiring a prescription.

Naloxone, a antidote for opiate overdose, is becoming more easily accessible throughout Massachusetts. Walgreens and CVS pharmacies in the state offer naloxone without requiring a prescription and first responders were recently allowed to begin carrying this drug.

Opioid overdose is the leading cause of injury death in Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. There were 185 opioid-related deaths in Plymouth County in 2016 and Wareham made up 15 of these.

Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan, is a drug typically sprayed into the nose that blocks opioids and restores normal breathing in an overdose. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said it is “safe, easy to administer and has no potential for abuse.”

Massachusetts is one of 41 states where anyone can buy naloxone over the counter at CVS Pharmacy.

"We support the opportunity to provide naloxone to those who would benefit from having it on hand during an emergency," CVS Pharmacy's website said.

In light of the changes to the state’s policy on naloxone, the Wareham Public Schools updated its policy in May 2016. The school nurses in every Wareham Public School have been trained to administer Narcan, Wareham Middle School nurse Susan Akins said.

The nurses took a training course, which included a one-hour information session, a demonstration of how to use Narcan and a test.

Narcan is in every public school in Wareham and is stored with EpiPens. If there is no nurse in the building at the time of an overdose, someone else who is trained to use Narcan could access and administer it. Anyone can take the training course on how to properly administer Narcan.

Akins said having Narcan in schools is a good precaution, though she has not had to use it.

“I think for people that need it, it’s a good thing to have there,” Akins said. “As long as everybody’s properly trained in using it, it’s a rescue med and it can save lives.”

Wareham EMS has been carrying naloxone for over ten years, according to EMS Director David Evans. Responders are equipped to dispense naloxone nasally and intravenously.

So far in 2017, responders have given naloxone 98 times. In 2016, 197 doses were given.

“It’s a life saving drug,” Evans said. “People are addicted to [opiates] and we have to treat them until they get the treatment they need to get off the drug.”

The fire departments in town have been carrying Narcan for just over a year, according to Onset Fire Chief Ray Goodwin.

“We decided to get it for the amount of calls we respond to where we have to wait for EMS to arrive,” Goodwin said.

It took the department six to eight months to get licensed to carry it, Goodwin said. All the members of the fire department were trained to use Narcan and provided with a plan of when to utilize it.

Goodwin said the Onset Fire Department has only used Narcan “several times” since getting it last year. He said it makes caring for patients much easier and helps bring them back to consciousness more quickly than using other methods.

“I am here to provide a service and it’s not my place to judge if someone should live or die,” Goodwin said. “We serve all of our customers equally...accidental or intentional, we don’t know what the situation is.”

Anyone can receive training to dispense naloxone as well. Janie Simmons founded Get Naloxone Now, a website that provides free, 20-minute training for bystanders to feel equipped to act in an overdose situation.

Get Naloxone Now has trained over 33,000 people nationally using the interactive training program.

"It gives them the confidence to use these products and to know how easy they are," Simmons said. She said she believes everyone should consider having naloxone in their home, particularly if they are in a social network of people who use heroin or prescription narcotics. Simmons encourages people to see being trained and carrying naloxone as a loving act.

"There may be someone in your home that you're not aware is interested in that stuff, or kids are experimenting," Simmons said.

Comments (24)
Posted by: cranky pants | Aug 02, 2017 16:56

I'm trying hard to refrain from saying negative comments at this time, so I'll just say hello addicts !

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 02, 2017 21:27

The whole situation is sad.


It is an antidote not a cure.  Cures are for diseases.  Cure was a bad choice of words.


"Kids are experimenting"...really! Stating it like that makes it sound like stealing a can of beer from Dad's basement fridge.


One more thing.  How much does this stuff cost at CVS?

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 02, 2017 21:27

The whole situation is sad.


It is an antidote not a cure.  Cures are for diseases.  Cure was a bad choice of words.


"Kids are experimenting"...really! Stating it like that makes it sound like stealing a can of beer from Dad's basement fridge.


One more thing.  How much does this stuff cost at CVS?

Posted by: Bluebell3333 | Aug 03, 2017 05:55

Cure??? This article makes it sound as if once this product is used.. TADA!! no more worries. The addict is 'cured'. The second I read that I realized the writer had no clue what she was writing about.

Posted by: desertsky | Aug 03, 2017 07:51

All well and good they found the fairy dust to sprinkle on the problem...How many of those 98 were repeats? Maybe they should address the problem instead of the band-aids that the users know they can get free from first responders or gasp...BUY from CVS. When the users have money to BUY a drug it won't be narcan...we need another solution to this problem.


Posted by: barnstorm | Aug 03, 2017 10:38

Addiction is a choice, not a disease. Kids experimenting?? No, kids being stupid! Lock them up and no access to those drugs. Training and counseling in jail.....ok. They do their time, go out and repeat? Double the sentence. Dealers....throw away the key. Consequences for your actions and stupidity.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 03, 2017 11:16

The writer is a 2017 college grad.  BA is Journalism.  Wet behind the ears. Below was copied from her Linkdin account.  Makes sense why the story was written as it was.

Causes Lydia cares about:

  • Arts and Culture
  • Civil Rights and Social Action
  • Economic Empowerment
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • Politics
  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Services

Posted by: cranky pants | Aug 03, 2017 11:41


Thankfully I'm not too far off with my initial reaction..

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 03, 2017 12:56

I was taught in late 1980s public high school health class that heroine equals instant addiction followed by overdose and death. It scared the crap out of me so I feared it and never considered it.  Do today's kinder gentler school systems still teach that to our delicate flowers?  Or is it too harsh?


It sounds as if this opiate epidemic is becoming an acceptable thing. I can see Narcan being used once to save the life of a first timer that made a horrible mistake.  But that's it. One shot is all they deserve.


The repeats need to learn that there are consequences.  Yet they don't have to worry because they know that someone with Narcan will interfere with what's supposed to naturally happen and bring them back. Maybe that's exacerbating the situation.


If nature was allowed to take its course, I'll bet things would improve. The ole saying "things need to get worse before they get better". Narcan is preventing that.  Drug buddies need to watch nature take its course when their drug buddies overdose instead of assuming Narcan will save them.



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 03, 2017 14:53

Glad I could help!  I see the article has been changed.  The word cure was replaced with antidote.  Thanks for listening.


Sometimes I go back and read my own comments and think to myself that WBTS is a cranky jerk.  Yea...I know.


I actually looked up the definitions of both words before suggesting and really feel it is the better choice.

Posted by: Jaime Rebhan | Aug 03, 2017 15:16

We had a discussion about that this morning, WBTS!


I will also take this opportunity to remind everybody here that we are all neighbors. The discourse on this site has become really sad as of late.


We're all neighbors. The people who comment here, the people who read here, and the people who work here. I'd like to challenge everybody to be a little kinder to each other.


I am posting this here and on other threads that have heated up as of late. As always, everybody has a standing invitation to grab a cup of coffee with me and chat about anything having to do with WW/WarehamVillageSoup. Give me a call or send me an email (774-992-4660, jaime@beaverdampartners.com).



Jaime Rebhan

(Former editor of Wareham Week, current wearer-of-many-hats at Beaver Dam Partners, the Wareham company that owns Wareham Week)

Posted by: donknowlton | Aug 04, 2017 09:17

I totally agree Jaime.

What I used to look forward to as a good local newspaper, has become more like social a media page. It is always the same offenders too. Perhaps if they would like to be keyboard warriors, they should take it to Facebook. I wouldn't mind at all if the comment section were removed altogether! Then the people who want the news without the trash, could enjoy it more.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 04, 2017 10:13

It's still a good local newspaper! Nobody is forcing anybody to read the comments. Don't be ridiculous. If you don't like the comments just don't read them.


Read the articles and don't read the comments if you get offended by the "offenders" (as you call them).  I don't have a problem with any of these so called offenders, whoever they may be...lol.


Different perspectives are healthy and one of the reasons why comments are made in the first place. Imagine how boring these comments would be if everybody stated nothing but happy thoughts that complied with some unwritten guidelines that some feel must be followed.


There's a saying lately, it goes something like this:  "just because you are offended doesn't mean that you are correct".



Posted by: 181mph | Aug 04, 2017 12:32

yeah,, and just because someone comes on here and leaves a narrow minded reply doesn't mean they are correct either, and @ barnstorm, if you really think addiction is a choice, you need to get your head outta the your butt, just because that is your perception doesn't make it correct, i lost a very good friend to addiction that was caused by none other than the infamous VA, they got him all hopped up with pain killers after being wounded in the nam, and then just released him without any kind of drug rehab to get him off the stuff, so he went to the street, a 9mm round self inflicted cured his addiction, so all y'alls drug experts that have all the answers, let that roll around in your head,, buncha losers that hide behind a PC screen

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Aug 04, 2017 21:20

Does anyone ever wonder why so many of those who used to contribute comments on Wareham Week no longer do?

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 04, 2017 22:17

I figure it's because it's summer.  People are busy and have less time to spend commenting.  Kids are home from school.  Lots going on.  Away on vacation.  Things like that.

Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Aug 04, 2017 22:44

It's normal.  A high percentage of forum users drop off the edge of the earth after about six months.  I presume they rediscover the real world.  They're not like us.


Despite Lydia's newly-exposed youth and inexperience I've enjoyed her articles and am impressed by her formal education, wide range of interests, and talent for writing and photography.  I actually thought she was a wizened old pro with years of experience, long grey hair, and a Hillary bumper sticker until WBTS busted her.  Rock on, youngster!  Anybody can replicate mechanicals, but few can truly dance.


Keyboard warrior=somebody said something I don't like so make them stop!  Jaime, if you want a glee club, go to Sippican Week.  Some posters here on WW are annoyingly preachy, some are annoying predictable, some are annoyingly volatile, some are annoyingly negative, some are annoyingly clueless, and one is just an idiot.  But some of them present opinions I hadn't thought of.  Some are able to express sentiments I share but hadn't figured out how to put into words.  Some share background information that I, as a non-connected non-related non-inbred outsider, am not otherwise privy to.  (Apologies to Lydia for syntax but the whisky is taking effect.)


Being neighbors doesn't mean we're all clones.  Have you met my real-life neighbors?  Hahahaha!  Most of them are freaks!  Any one of them would make Spherebreaker look like Mister Rogers.

Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Aug 04, 2017 22:57

Wait a sec....


As always, everybody has a standing invitation to grab a cup of coffee with me and chat about anything having to do with WW/WarehamVillageSoup.


So YOU pay for the coffee?

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 05, 2017 02:12

Andrea, I answered your question literally and truthfully.  Yet I'm pretty sure that's not what you were looking for.  Were you riding on Jamie's coattails regarding the alleged discourse?  Are you implying that the new commenters have chased away the previous commenters...like bad kids taking over the sandbox.  There's plenty of room in here for all of us. Don't let the bad kids win.  Hold your ground in your corner of the box and comment away.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Aug 05, 2017 07:40

Its a wonderful day in the neighborhood.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 05, 2017 09:03

That was a good read Society!  You've got me feeling self conscious wondering what category I fit into.  I guess as long as I'm not the idiot I'm all right.

Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Aug 05, 2017 20:32

Oops.  I forgot to include the Endlessly Fascinating category.  Love ya all, just like my real neighbors.

Posted by: Jaime Rebhan | Aug 10, 2017 18:26



My apologies for the late response! I missed this. My previous comment was a nice way of saying that we're going to be more quick with the delete key. ;)


And yes. I'll pay for the coffee. I am awaiting your phone call or email!





Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Aug 10, 2017 22:02

So THAT explains all those missing pearls of wisdom!  I was blaming the last Windows 10 update.

If you wish to comment, please login.