Boxes containing overdose reversal medication installed at four Greenfield sites

The city, in conjunction with local social service agencies, has installed boxes containing opioid overdose reversal medication at Hillside Park, pictured, as well as at Energy Park and in the public restrooms in Greenfield City Hall.

The city, in conjunction with local social service agencies, has installed boxes containing opioid overdose reversal medication at Hillside Park, pictured, as well as at Energy Park and in the public restrooms in Greenfield City Hall. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer

Published: 11-01-2023 5:20 PM

GREENFIELD — In collaboration with several social service agencies, the city has installed boxes containing opioid overdose reversal medication in four locations.

Naloxone boxes can now be found at Energy Park, Hillside Park and the two Greenfield City Hall restrooms. This effort, spearheaded by local agencies including the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region, Tapestry Health, the North Quabbin Community Coalition and Boston Medical Center, is part of the National Institutes of Health’s HEALing Communities Study. The study began in 2019 with 16 Massachusetts communities who qualified based on opioid overdose fatality rates.

The new naloxone boxes are part of an $800,000 award from the National Institutes of Health that the Opioid Task Force received to finance opioid-related fatality reduction strategies in Greenfield, Athol, Montague and Orange.

“Any way to increase access to people who are at risk of witnessing an overdose is really important,” said Tapestry Health’s Director of Harm Reduction Services Liz Whynott. “It will make it so if someone is afraid to go to the pharmacy or come into Tapestry … it’s there.”

Beyond that, she said, “it helps with the visibility and importance of overdose prevention.”

The decision to install naloxone boxes follows an extensive planning process by local agencies in collaboration with Greenfield leadership. Several community outreach meetings helped inform where the naloxone boxes would be installed.

“I think that the city of Greenfield has taken a really good initiative to have these installed,” Whynott said.

The naloxone boxes will be refilled weekly by Tapestry Health, increasing the availability of a lifesaving medication and reducing stigma for people with opioid use disorder.

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“The city welcomes the opportunity to be a partner with Tapestry and the Opioid Task Force in this effective lifesaving harm reduction effort by allowing naloxone boxes to be available in our City Hall and public parks,” Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner said in a statement.

The Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region and Tapestry Health continue to host virtual overdose prevention and Narcan trainings. The organization’s next training occurs on Thursday, Nov. 30, from 2 to 3 p.m. Those interested in attending can register at tinyurl.com/bdecvf5p.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.