On Friday, 9/22, Acushnet Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher issued a statement supporting the state’s decision to allow non-opioid based drugs for pain relief in ambulances.
Chief Gallagher has been an outspoken supporter of liquid Tyelonol and other pain medications to help fight the opioid epidemic in Acushnet and the country. Many addicts were first introduced to opioids in a medical setting, and the drugs often lead to heroin addiction, an opiod that is easily available on the black market.
Here is the statement that Chief Gallagher posted on Facebook on 9/22.
“Five months ago, proposals to change the Commonwealth’s EMS protocols allowing certain non-opioid medications to be used for pain relief was approved by the first stage of the bureaucratic process. Change comes slow in government by design, policy makers need to get things right. But given the opioid crisis we live in, given the direction to ‘think outside the box’ and given our collective desire to not expose anyone to fentanyl when alternatives would suffice, the process became frustrating at the very least.
“This morning, I received an email from Governor Baker’s Chief of Staff, Kristen Lapore, stating that the protocols allowing alternative medications to opioids on ambulances has been finalized. ‘The protocols will be in place by the end of September, 2017,’ wrote Ms. Lapore.
“That’s next week!
“These changes do not remove fentanyl from the Paramedics toolbox, nor should they. They simply provide other, non-addictive means of pain relief (Acetaminophen, Toradol and Ibuprofen) that can be administered under the right conditions. The goal is to allow Paramedics to use their best judgement when it comes to providing medications necessary to reduce pain.
“To us, the argument was simple: if an Acushnet Paramedic can avoid giving fentanyl pre hospital then we should be able to. If we need to give fentanyl than we should be able to. Pain will continue to be managed, just in a smarter way.
“We thank the Department of Public Health and the Baker Administration for finalizing these changes and getting them on the streets soon. Massachusetts will be the first state in the nation to bring opioid alternative medications to their state EMS protocols. Bet your last dollar that others will follow.
“Thank you to all who played a role in creating, expediting and approving these changes.
“You made a difference.”
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