WHITMAN — Residents will be able to learn how to administer Naloxone — or Narcan — as well as purchase the opioid antagonist during a simulation lab from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 4 at Duval’s Pharmacy in Whitman.
The “sim lab,” presented by Whitman Hanson WILL and South Shore Hospital, creates a mock overdose situation to help people understand how to use the medication in a crisis. Duval’s is located at 571 Washington St., Whitman.
The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, Oct. 17 supported the sim lab and its goals, which were described by Police Chief Scott Benton.
“Obviously, it’s going to attract attention, but that’s exactly what we want,” Benton said. “We all know that the opioid epidemic is here loud and clear.”
About 40 people attended a similar instructional meeting on Narcan’s use, held at the Hanson Police Department recently. Rockland CARES also held a sim lab recently, a video of which reached 25,000 on Facebook.
“By having the sim lab in the center, it breaks down more of those barriers, where people think, ‘These people are bad people,’ because that’s not the case,” Benton said. “These people are sick and they need to be treated.”
Benton told Selectmen that, to date, there have been 31 overdoses in Whitman this year with three fatalities. One person made up four of those 31 overdose incidents.
“It wouldn’t matter if it were 4,000 times if it was your child,” Benton said. “Never are you going to say, ‘Ah, you know what, just let ’em die.’”
Benton credited Whitman Hanson WILL for their progressive work on the issue. One member of that group is Selectmen Chairman Dr. Carl Kowalski.
“It’s something that’s not going away right now, and if you noticed the news over the weekend, its starting to peck away at some of the root causes for it,” Kowalski said. “It’s kind of scary, because people in power have been responsible for a lot of this.”
Kowalski said Whitman Hanson WILL is heavily supported by school, public safety and town officials, while Rockland CARES is more represented by community members, churches and families. He said he would like to see more community involvement in Whitman Hanson WILL and hopes the sim lab spurs that involvement.
“They bring a mannequin within an ambulance and teach potential bystanders how to utilize Naloxone,” Amanda Sandoval, assistant director of the Brockton Area Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative, said at a Whitman Hanson WILL meeting last week of the South Shore Hospital program. “It actually responds to the Naloxone as a person would.”
Duval’s carries Naloxone, said Sandoval, adding that the hope is to increase the standing order for the medication at the pharmacy. Naloxone can be obtained without a prescription.
“If somebody gets into it that shouldn’t it’s not going to hurt them,” Harrington said of the Naloxone. “It’ll just reverse the effects of opiates.”
“Runny nose,” Sandoval said is the only effect on someone not experiencing an opioid overdose. “They use it as a diagnostic tool in the field, if they are not sure [opiates] are present.”
A Whitman Hanson Will/ Brockton Area Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative resource table will also be on site to promote other programs and meetings.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Benton told Selectmen.
Sandoval and Gabby Peruccio, a collaborative coordinator facilitated the latest W-H WILL meeting at WHRHS Thursday, Oct. 12. Also attending were: Courtney Selig one of WHRHS guidance counselors, Whitman School Resource Officer Kevin Harrington, Hanson Middle School Assistant Principal Josh Belvis, Mission Possible Academy Family Liaison Maureen Leonard and WHRHS Principal Jeffrey Szymaniak.
The next monthly meeting of Whitman Hanson WILL is planned for 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 16 at the high school, with the next quarterly community meeting to be held at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 5 at the Hanson Public Library, 132 Maquan St., Hanson.
Whitman Hanson WILL is also participating in the Panther Education Trust’s annual Truck or Treat fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28 at WHRHS.
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is being observed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 28 at police departments in Whitman and Hanson as well as neighboring towns of Bridgewater, East Bridgewater and Rockland and the Brockton Council on Aging, 10 Father Kenney Way, Brockton.