DEC. 20, 2016| 8:30pm
The Lawrence City Council approved the use of NARCAN Tuesday night, allowing Lawrence Police to carry the medication that literally revives people who die from heroin overdoses if they are caught in time.
The measure passed unanimously.
Vice Chairman of the Lawrence City Council Marc Laplante said that his first inclination was to vote against the use of NARCAN, because it enables drug users who know that they can come to the City of Lawrence and overdose without fear of dying.
Laplante said he was, however, voting for the measure to allow police to purchase and use NARCAN because, he said, it was a tool, and only a tool to save people’s lives. “This is not going to solve the opioid problem,” Laplante said.
Laplante said it would only be the police department carrying the medication, not the fire department.
He said that last year there were 47 confirmed opioid deaths in the City of Lawrence. Only 23 were actually from Lawrence. The number of times NARCAN was administered at Lawrence General Hospital last year was 277 times. Laplante noted that there may be instances where the same person had NARCAN used on them more than once.
On Laplante’s recommendation, the council also voted to invite officials from the police, fire, Lawrence General Hospital, The Lawrence Methuen Community Coalition, and perhaps a member of the trade associations of pharmaceutical companies to present a complete overview of the opioid epidemic in the city.
That vote was also unanimous.