Civilians Learn How to Administer Life-Saving Opiate Antidote in Burlington

While communities around Massachusetts are trying to curb the epidemic of drug overdoses, officials in Burlington are now enlisting locals to help in the effort.

On Tuesday, the Burlington Opioid Outreach Program offered a free nasal naloxone and harm reduction training at St. Mark's Church. Deirdre Calvert, a social worker at Column Health, ran the training.

"I can’t help anyone if they’re dead," Calvert said.

Calvert recommends everyone knowing how to administer the life-saving drug.

"Narcan keeps them alive. Then we can work on getting them treatment and work on behavioral and mental health issues and getting better," Calvert said.

Burlington Police say the opioid epidemic has them responding to roughly an overdose a week. They say reviving an person with Narcan is the first step to recovery.

The basement of the church was filled with roughly two dozen people who learned how to spot someone who has overdosed. Signs include a person with gurgling breath, clammy skin, and one who is unresponsive to sternal rub.


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The nasal spray of Narcan is just a quick squirt up the nose. For those who worry about reviving someone who becomes combative, the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Abuse says that only happens fewer than 5 percent of the time.

Everyone who left Tuesday's meeting took a dose of the life-saving drug with them and said they feel better prepared to help someone in need.

"People have the right to live. We can’t just leave them there," said Tee O'Brien, who attended the training class.

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