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I reached out to Tom Lopez, head of the Newton Firefighters Association, today to ask about the union’s issues with carrying and administering Narcan. In addition to explaining why the change isn’t as simple as the public might believe, Tom told me that the

“Firefighters completed and signed an agreement with the city today that addresses most of our concerns and can only hope the rest is addressed quickly.”

The parties did not sign a new contract. According to Lopez, it’s a side agreement. The language will be added to the new contract when an agreement is reached.

His entire email follows:

“The Narcan issue is a lot more complex than what some people would make you believe. Its not as simple as just a little training and putting it on the trucks. Narcan is a small band aid on a huge laceration in society and people feel  that simply having firefighters carry Narcan will solve the problem and thats just not reality. Even with Narcan people will continue to die unless the community develops and implements a broad spectrum program that can identify people at risk, provide treatment options for addicts, and continued support for the patient and their families long after treatment. This is imperative for the addict to have any chance of  long term recovery.

The community program is the most important piece of the puzzle and is something of great concern to the firefighters. We do not believe the city has such a plan or resources in place to date . We have expressed our concerns to the administration, members of the board/counsel, and even the media in recent months, but no one seems to be listening. Instead they have focused on the lack of Narcan on the trucks and have gone as far as maligning the firefighters rather than listen to our concerns. It was easier for some to jump to conclusions and say it was about money.I can assure you it had nothing to do with money!!
Gail, as I said in the beginning this issue is far more complex than people would lead you to believe and I feel we had stated our facts and concerns in the Tab article pretty clearly.
The Firefighters completed and signed an agreement with the city today that addresses most of our concerns and can only hope the rest is addressed quickly. The timing of deployment is up to the department.”






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