PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) — A spokesperson for County Ambulance Service in Pittsfield said someone in Berkshire County overdoses on opioids every day. 374 overdose deaths and over 386 overdose-related EMS calls were reported countywide in 2022, they said.

“Fatal overdoses almost always involve opioids, more than one substance, and the synthetic and very deadly opioid fentanyl,” noted the spokesperson in an emailed statement.

County Ambulance Service is a member of the HEALing Communities study in Pittsfield and is ramping up efforts to distribute Narcan nasal spray as part of it. The service plans to use an easy pickup system of Narcan kits, which will be provided to residents free of charge.

“No one should die from an overdose, and naloxone is one of the most effective tools we have to save lives. But sadly, today, people with substance use disorders are overdosing and dying because Naloxone is not readily available,” said Brian K. Andrews, President of County Ambulance. “We aim to create a stigma-free and safe environment for people to engage and learn how to protect themselves and others in an opioid overdose emergency.”

The ambulance service has developed an easy online form that only takes a minute to complete, does not require any personal information, needs no insurance information, and is free. Requestors will receive a small, wallet-type kit containing two doses of Narcan, a rescue mask, fentanyl test strips, and valuable resource cards including instructions for use.

Narcan can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and save someone’s life. Anyone can and should administer the nasal spray if they suspect any type of overdose. If no opioids were involved, Narcan would not harm the person, it just wouldn’t have any effect.

It may require multiple doses of Narcan to revive a person, which makes it crucial that you call 911 when you witness an overdose, even after you started administering the drug. The Good Samaritan Law protects you when calling 911, when you see or experience a drug overdose, and in administration of Narcan.

Pittsfield and surrounding community residents can request a free Narcan kit that they can pick up at County Ambulance by filling out a convenient online form, here. When the form is received by County Ambulance staff, they will place the Narcan kit in a pickup box located on the front door of their headquarters located at 175 Wahconah Street.

County Ambulance is also participating in the innovative program of Leave Behind Narcan at any call involving a potential overdose. Upon responding to a call involving an overdose, staff will offer a kit to on-scene bystanders in case someone used their Narcan or as a preventative measure for any possible future overdoses.

“We can all be first responders by carrying and administering Narcan and give people suffering from opioid use disorder another chance to seek help and start their recovery journey,” stated the spokesperson. “It could be a family member, friend, or co-worker. Remember, the only thing you cannot recover from is death.”