District Attorney Ryan Sponsors Narcan Training For College And University Police Officers
Feb 29, 2016 09:15AM
By Bill Gilman
(Editor's Note: The following information was submitted by the office of District Attorney Marian Ryan.)
WOBURN – Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan sponsored a training recently for college and university police officers on the administration of the overdose-reversing drug Narcan. The training took place at Winchester Home Health Care in Woburn, an affiliate of Winchester Hospital.
“The opioid crisis is directly affecting young people and we have learned that campus culture presents additional risk factors,” said District Attorney Ryan. “Teenagers and young adults on campus are often mixing opioids with alcohol and other substances, such as stimulant drugs, which can significantly increase the chance of a fatal overdose.”
Education is one of the most important parts of District Attorney Ryan’s multi-pronged approach to combating the opioid crisis. An integral part of preventing fatal overdoses is educating members of the community on how to administer Narcan. With 26 colleges and universities in Middlesex County, campus police officers are often the first to respond to life-threatening situations in the state’s most populous county.
The prevalence of stimulant drugs such as Adderall, often used to enhance academic focus on college campuses, poses a number of health-related risks to students. Polysubstance use, the mixing of two or more substances, is a significant risk factor for a fatal overdose because it greatly increases the likelihood for toxicity and respiratory depression. This fact, combined with other high risk campus scenarios including student-athletes recovering from sports-related injuries who may be more susceptible to prescription drug abuse following medical procedures, make today’s training particularly important.
Dr. Daniel Muse, Medical Director of the Municipal Police Training Committee and a physician at Signature Health provided attendees with an overview of how opioids work and how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose. Following the presentation participants engaged in a hands-on session that provided practical experience with administering Narcan.
Officers were in attendance from Boston College, Brandeis University, Lasell College, Massachusetts Institute for Technology and the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Health care professionals from Winchester Home Health Care also participated.
Over the last year, District Attorney Ryan’s office has provided 540 doses of Narcan to police, departments, school nurses, and athletic directors in Middlesex County at no cost to municipalities using revenue collected from drug forfeitures to purchase the Narcan.