First Responder Naloxone (Narcan) Technical Assistance

As part of Governor Baker and the State Legislature's comprehensive strategy to address the opioid overdose crisis in Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health has awarded grants to municipal Police and Fire Departments in municipalities that are most affected by this epidemic.

The First Responder Naloxone Grant provides funding to purchase naloxone and related overdose response costs such as training and medical supplies. Grants are intended to help cover some of the costs associated with the implementation of first responder naloxone administration, and are not designed to cover the full costs for every municipality. Grantee communities are eligible for technical assistance on program implementation from MassTAPP (A BSAS-funded prevention Technical Assistance provider).

If your grant-funded municipality is interested in receiving technical assistance, please contact: Gary Langis at glangis@edc.org or call 978-835-3602.

This page also includes information on purchasing naloxone as well as an overview of pre-hospital overdose response protocols and requirements for non-DPH funded First Responder departments. This information includes how to purchase naloxone from the State Office of Pharmacy Services Bulk Purchasing Program, training resources and requirements, and sample departmental policies.

More information is available at the MDPH Overdose Prevention page.

Getting Started

First Responder personnel carrying and administering naloxone in the event of a medical emergency are governed by the following statutes: MGL c.94C §7, MGL c.94C §19, MGL c.94C §34A, MGL c.258C §13, which allow naloxone to be carried lawfully and administered in good faith.

Municipalities that would like to purchase, stock, and equip approved public employees with naloxone for use in a medical emergency need to arrange for medical oversight of their program. A MA Board of Registration in Medicine licensed physician can provide this medical oversight.

Many municipalities have an existing Memorandum of Agreement/Understanding (MOA/MOU) with a local hospital or licensed physician for first responder department personnel to carry Epinephrine (EpiPens) and Automatic Electronic Defibrillators (AEDs). Your department will need to amend that MOA/MOU to include naloxone.

A single Massachusetts Controlled Substances Registration (MCSR) is required for each municipality that wishes to authorize first responders to administer naloxone. Municipal naloxone MCSR’s expire after one year.

To find out if your departmental MCSR is currently active, please visit the list of active facility MCSRs located on the Drug Control Program website, or call the MCSR help line at 617-973-0949.

In addition to medical oversight, your municipality will want to amend departmental policies to include a section on overdose and naloxone policies and protocols. Departmental policies must include references to the 9-1-1 Good Samaritan Law (M.G.L. c. 94C, § 34A), which states that:

  • (a) a person who, in good faith, seeks medical assistance for someone experiencing a drug-related overdose shall not be charged or prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance under sections 34 or 35 if the evidence for the charge of possession of a controlled substance was gained as a result of the seeking of medical assistance, and
  • (b) A person who experiences a drug-related overdose and is in need of medical assistance and, in good faith, seeks such medical assistance, or is the subject of such a good faith request for medical assistance, shall not be charged or prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance under said sections 34 or 35 if the evidence for the charge of possession of a controlled substance was gained as a result of the overdose and the need for medical assistance.

Purchasing Naloxone

Many municipal first responder departments have existing arrangements to purchase naloxone from a local hospital or a preferred medical supply company. In addition to those options, municipalities and state entities are eligible to purchase naloxone through the State Office of Pharmacy Services (SOPS) at the cost negotiated between the Commonwealth and a pharmaceutical wholesaler.

To order naloxone from the State Office of Pharmacy Services, you will need an active MA Controlled Substance Registration (MCSR). You will need to submit a copy of the active MCSR to the State Office of Pharmacy Services before you are able to place an order.

To place an order for naloxone from the State Office of Pharmacy Services, please contact:

Scott Brody
Program Coordinator
State Office for Pharmacy Services
978.858.2138
scott.brody@massmail.state.ma.us

Overdose Response Training for First Responders

Many first responder departments have in-service training available on overdose response. Other departments have arrangements with local community partners such as EMS to provide training on overdose response. All training on overdose response for your first responder personnel must be approved by your medical director.

Please familiarize yourself with the minimum standards for first responder training in naloxone use:

The Bureau of Justice Assistance has developed a clearinghouse of resources related to overdose response and naloxone:

First Responder Naloxone Grant Webinars

All First Responder Naloxone Grantees are required to participate in annual webinars.

Please see an archive of past webinars here: