Published in the November 13, 2015 edition.

WAKEFIELD — Wakefield Fire Chief Michael Sullivan announced yesterday that Wakefield fire apparatus now carry Nasal Naloxone, otherwise known as Narcan, to better equip its members who respond to reported drug overdoses.

Narcan, an opioid antagonist, can quickly reverse the effects of a potentially fatal painkiller or heroin overdose by displacing the drug from the receptors in the brain. It has minimal side effects, is not dangerous if administered to a person who is not overdosing and it has no potential for abuse.

Opioid overdose is currently one of the leading causes of death in Massachusetts and no community is immune to the problem. Former Governor Deval Patrick declared it a public health crisis last year.

“Firefighters are often the first emergency responders on the scene of an overdose and now they can make a real difference in these situations,” stated Sullivan. “Being equipped with Narcan will allow firefighters to face the opioid crisis head-on and help prevent the tragic loss of life in our community caused by these situations.”

Nasal Naloxone will be deployed on all marked Wakefield Fire Apparatus.

Narcan is effective against heroin and also against other opiates such as Fentanyl, oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) and hydrocodone (Vicodin).