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Northampton installs outdoor Narcan boxes to counter opioid overdoses

Northampton, Massachusetts, has become the only community in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties to provide outdoor boxes filled with doses of a drug that reverses an opioid overdose.

Northampton already offered Narcan — also known by its generic name, naloxone — indoors in municipal buildings during business hours. Taylor McAndrew, who works for the city's health department, said the new boxes will make the drug available around the clock.

"If someone is nearby the area and we need to respond to an overdose, anyone can go to the box and grab the Narcan while first responders are on the way," she said.

McAndrew said the boxes are also intended to provide easy access to Narcan for community members with a loved one at risk of overdosing.

One of the boxes is in the city's Pulaski Park. Lilith Price was there on Friday. Price, 19, lives at a nearby shelter and said the boxes are a good idea for keeping people safe.

Price has administered Narcan doses before, she said.

"On my own mother, on a couple of friends. I've had them used on me before," she said — about 10 times.

The box can fit nine packages of Narcan, each containing two doses.

Berkshire County already has the outdoor boxes in multiple locations.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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