Not a member? Become one today!
         iBerkshires     Berkshire Chamber     MCLA     City Statistics    
North Adams Councilors Get Narcan Presentation
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:35AM / Thursday, January 25, 2024
Print | Email  

The North Adams councilors each received a kit with two Narcan spray bottles and a CPR face shield along with instructions in use. Narcan can be used on anyone of any age without ill effect and lasts long past its expiration date.

Krystle Kincaid of Berkshire Harm Reduction tells the City Council about finding fentanyl and xlyazine in drug samples. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire County had 47 fatal overdoses in 2022, a dozen of them in North County. Of those, eight occurred in North Adams. 
One way to stop the deaths is Narcan, said Krystle Kincaid, prevention services supervisor at Berkshire Harm Reduction. "We're literally trying to give it to everybody."
Narcan is the brand name of naloxone, an over-the-counter drug that can reverse an opioid overdose by blocking the drug's effects within three minutes.
"It's the easiest thing to use. It has no adverse effects. You can give it to anybody," she told the City Council on Tuesday night. "And if they're not having an opioid overdose, they're gonna get a wet nose. That's it. It's just like Afrin (a nasal decongestant)."
Kincaid was speaking to the council at the behest of Councilor Andrew Fitch. 
"We have several issues that affect our community. One of the largest is addiction, is overdose deaths," he said. "And so I thought it was really worth having a presentation tonight to go through the facts and figures. If we can learn a little bit more about this to help kind of cut through the stigma, educate ourselves and, hopefully, also help solve this problem."
Each councilor was given a kit with two doses of Narcan, cardiopulmonary resuscitation face shield and instructions. Kincaid said the kits are available free at Berkshire Harm Reduction's office at 6 West Main St. There are also Narcan boxes around the city. 
The program, which operates under the Berkshire Health Systems umbrella, provides syringe access and disposal, Narcan training and overdose prevention education, safer supplies, risk reduction counseling, and testing for HIV, Hep C, and STIs among other services. 
"Anybody can come in and bring a substance to be tested," Kincaid said, adding that a majority of samples in North County samples have fentanyl in them, including cocaine and crack. 
Fentanyl is a very potent synthetic opioid that when added to drugs is a major driver in overdose deaths. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that synthetic opioids are responsible for more than 150 fatal overdoses a day
Another growing problem is the addition of xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer, in illicit drugs. Kincaid said the drug can suppress blood pressure and cause cardiac arrest. 
"If somebody overdoses off an opiate, Narcan is not working for the fact that xylazine is not an opiate, it's a stimulant," Kincaid said. "What we're finding with that is we're having a lot more overdoses, it's taking a lot more Narcan for somebody to finally get out of that."
Councilor Peter Breen asked Mayor Jennifer Macksey what the protocol is in the schools for Narcan. The mayor said the school resource officer carries Narcan and she believes the nurses do as well. 
Councilor Deana Morrow, who works in addiction recovery, commended the work of Berkshire Harm Reduction, noting its staff has provided training at Keenan House North. Councilor Ashley Shade said she would like the city's IDEA Commission to have some training.
"This is an extremely important thing for anybody to know. Because, as has been said repeatedly, just knowing the steps and having this available can and will save lives," she said.  
"I know there are some members of the community that don't believe in the use of Narcan but if you can save a life, maybe giving that person the new opportunity to be able to get away from the the opiates and to be able to recover and be able to lead a normal life further on," said Council President Bryan Sapienza. "It's a terrible epidemic and just never know when you're going to be in a situation where you're going to provide this life-saving service."
The council also passed to a second reading and to be published the repeal of three sections of the secondhand dealer ordinance and the addition of one sentence.
"The following sentence was added that all business certificate application and fees shall replace the current secondhand license," said Councilor Ashley Shade, who brought the matter forward. "It would essentially eliminate the requirement of having a secondary license for secondhand stores."
The General Government Committee had recommended the deletion of the secondhand dealer regulations as outdated and unfair. Shade said signing a business certificate (as all businesses are required to do) would put a signature on file and would fulfill the requirements of Massachusetts law. This was also reviewed by the city solicitor.
"I look forward to moving forward with this and making it easier for secondhand stores and dealers and businesses to operate around in the city," Shade said.
Councilor Keith Bona removed himself from the council area during the discussion and vote as he is owner of Berkshire Emporium, which sells secondhand items.
In other business, the council: 
Confirmed the reappointments of Christa Sprague to the Human Services Commission for a term to end Jan. 1, 2027; Amanda Hartlage and Desiree Taylor to the IDEA Commssion for a terms to end Feb. 8, 2027; Jason Moran to the Mass MoCA Commission for a term to end Feb. 1, 2027; Williams Shanahan to the Youth Commission with a term ending on Feb. 28, 2027; and Jesse Lee Egan Poirer and Lisa Blackmer (who abstained) to the Planning Board with terms to end on Feb. 1, 2029.
• Approved applications by Mekayla Bailey and Theresa M. Wheeler for licenses to drive for RJ's Taxi.
• Approved a new utility pole at 24 North Church St., 50 feet south of Pole 3. Designated as Pole 3.1, it is being installed to bring service to the Tower and Porter Block at 34-36 Eagle St.
National Grid representative Michael Tatro said the current setup would not safely support the energy needs of the building once renovated. The pole installation and hookup is being covered by the building's owner.
Councilor Wayne Wilkinson was the lone vote in opposition, saying, "there's no such thing as North Church Street."
The street from Monument Square to the intersection with Eagle has long been called "North" and is used by the post office and some local and state entities but is not in the city's list of streets or on the state's GIS system.
More Featured Stories is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Sreet, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384
© 2011 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved