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Independent Thoughts: Health Department trains residents on OD rescues

by | Apr 3, 2023 | Featured, Featured: Features

The Hopkinton Health Department is sponsoring a monthly program at the Hopkinton Public Library to train individuals on the use of Narcan, a medication that can help an individual recover from an overdose of opioids.

The training takes place on the second Tuesday of every month — the first one is April 11 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. — and will teach participants how to recognize an opioid overdose and when and how to use Narcan (which is the brand name for naloxone).

“No judgment, no stigma,” Public Health Nurse Simone Carter stressed at a recent Board of Health meeting.

Health Director Shaun McAuliffe said overdoses — both accidental and on purpose — are among the leading causes of death in individuals under 40, and last year there was a spike in cases among those aged 40-60. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that there were 101,750 reported fatal overdoses in the country over a 12-month period ending last October, primarily driven by synthetic opioids like illicit fentanyl.

There also are reports that high school students are using drugs — including cocaine — at a higher rate.

“So we’re trying to get ahead of this,” McAuliffe said.

The department is providing free kits for participants of the training to take with them. Each kit includes two doses of Narcan, a mouth shield for administering breaths during CPR, two pairs of gloves and fentanyl testing strips.

The department also acquired 500 fentanyl testing kits for distribution, and McAuliffe noted that the public has been taking advantage.

“We put them out by the COVID testing kits, and people are coming in and taking them,” he said. “They’re going out the door a lot faster than we ever anticipated.”

On a related note, on March 29, the FDA approved Narcan to be sold over the counter (without a prescription) in a 4-milligram nasal spray. The spray initially was approved by the FDA in 2015 as a prescription drug.

Town mourns Lynch

Pat Lynch, who passed away last month at the age of 89, was a longtime volunteer in Hopkinton, serving on many town committees. A former Marine, Lynch was an original member of Friends of Hopkinton, the organization that puts together community events such as Family Day.

“Pat desired to continue the spirit of the 2015 town [300th] anniversary by forming our group,” former Friends of Hopkinton president Ann Click shared. “He showed his dedication to the town through ideas for promoting events that required town-wide involvement. Thank you Pat for your civic spirit and pride in Hopkinton.”

Lynch passed away March 22, three days before Friends of Hopkinton was to host the second annual Family Fling at the Town Common. The event ended up being canceled due to inclement weather.

Marathon fundraiser has Easter theme

Beth Hankin, who is running the Boston Marathon while raising funds for the Hopkinton Women’s Club, is doing her best to come up with creative fundraisers.

Her current effort is a partnership with the Ashland business Dulce D Leche. Individuals can purchase a personalized gourmet chocolate (milk or dark) Easter egg. Each egg is personalized up to seven letters and filled with jellybeans.

Eggs can be picked up between April 3-8 at the store.

For more information, visit hopkintonwomensclub.org or email Beth@BethHankinWellness.com.

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