TAUNTON — Following a recent surge of sometimes fatal heroin overdoses in this city and across the region, a top White House official and state and local leaders said today that they were focused on the issue, as they worked to better understand what they called an “epidemic.”
US Senator Edward J. Markey called the uptick in overdoses “a scourge like we have never seen before.”
“Communities throughout Massachusetts — communities like Taunton — suffer the direct pain of this epidemic,” he said at a news conference at Taunton’s central fire station.
A number of the officials, who included the director of White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, mayors, and state lawmakers, said they would work to further expand access to naloxone, a drug known widely by the trademark name Narcan, which is used to reverse opiate overdoses.
They said deaths could be reduced by broadening its availability to more first responders and others likely to be around a person who overdoses.
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