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Opioid Overdose Prevention

Stay safe and help keep others safe

In 2017, Bridgewater State University became the first college or university in the country to implement a public access Narcan® (generic name: naloxone) program. The anti-overdose drug is available in approximately 60 locations across campus, including inside all residence halls. Students, staff, and faculty can access naloxone at any time. It can be found in the same case as automatic electronic defibrillators (AEDs), which are marked by this symbol on the campus map: Symbol of a heart with a lightning bolt in the center

In addition, there is naloxone on the exterior of parking lot monitor booths in the Moakley, West and Harrington Lots.

Delivered to someone overdosing, naloxone can bring the individual around within minutes and get them breathing regularly again. All the naloxone at BSU is nasal naloxone and easy to use.

Understanding how to use naloxone and prevent overdose is more important than ever, as the risk of opioid overdose has increased in recent years. The potent opioid fentanyl has infiltrated the street drug supply, including stimulants like cocaine and pills that look like prescription pills but are pressed illegally. Know how to stay safe and help keep others safe from opioid overdose.

Bridgewater State University Police Department offers overdose prevention training that includes how to use naloxone. Call them at 508.531.1212 if your department, club or other student group is interested in a training, or email Detective Sergeant Robert McEvoy at

As part of BSU’s continued commitment to health and wellness, including overdose prevention on campus and in surrounding communities, the University joined the Massachusetts HEALing Communities opioid overdose prevention study and served as fiscal agent for the Brockton HEALing Communities Study from 2021-2022. Harm reduction and treatment resources were developed and centralized to help prevent overdose deaths in Brockton; they remain available for Brockton and regional organizations and individuals, as well as students, staff and faculty at BSU.

Here, you will find resources compiled for Brockton HEALing Communities with some customization for the BSU campus. Please contact the Wellness Center for more information.

Call 911 if you suspect an overdose.

In case of suspected overdose on campus or out in the community, call 911 immediately. If you have naloxone (Narcan), administer naloxone.  

Triangle with exclamation point in the center - warning symbol

Top signs of an opioid overdose

  • Non-responsive to voice and sternal chest rub (rubbing knuckles over collarbones).
  • Not breathing; or slow, shallow breaths. May make deep snoring or gurgling sound.
  • Small, constricted "pinpoint pupils."
A nasal spray bottle with a medical "plus" symbol

How to use naloxone

  1. Peel open package.
  2. Spray naloxone into person’s nostril: Hold spray device with thumb on bottom of red plunger and two fingers around the nozzle — don’t spray until the nozzle is in person’s nostril. Press red plunger firmly to release dose of naloxone into person’s nose.
  3. Wait two minutes for it to take effect. Person will start breathing and come to. If not, spray another dose in the other nostril, if you have a second dose of naloxone.
Note: Giving multiple doses of naloxone is sometimes necessary. If fentanyl is involved, because of its strength, overdoses can occur quickly and may require multiple doses of naloxone.

These are important harm reduction  strategies to promote life, safety, health and wellness among people who use drugs. If you are going to use, these tips can help keep you safe. If you know or encounter others using substances, these tips and tools can save their life.

Never Use Alone, and Know What Is in Your Drugs

Using alone increases the likelihood of dying of an overdose. If you or someone you know is planning to use drugs along, call the Never Use Alone hotline — 800.972.0590 — where nonjudgmental peers will stay on the phone with you and call for help if necessary.

There are tools to test what is in any substance so you can decide if, how much, and how you want to use it. Fentanyl test strips are an important way to know if there is fentanyl in your drugs.

Free naloxone, fentanyl test strips, clean syringes and other harm reduction tools and health services are available at the sites listed below.

Brockton Neighborhood Health Center (BNHC)
63 Main Street, Brockton, MA 02301

  • Clean syringes, pipes, fentanyl test strips, and medical services 
  • Harm reduction clinic located on 5th floor
  • Or contact the BNHC Mobile Unit at 508.233.0573
  • Visit Facebook @BNHCMobile for the daily location of the mobile unit
  • Services available in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean Creole and — on mobile unit only — Tagalog

The C.O.P.E. Center at BAMSI
74 Pleasant Street, Brockton, MA 02301

  • Naloxone (Narcan) and training available for organizations and individuals 
  • HIV and Hepatitis C testing, HIV support and harm reduction resources, including clean syringes, pipes, and fentanyl test strips 
Other Naloxone (Narcan) and Harm Reduction Locations

Cape Verdean Association
575 N. Montello Street, Brockton, MA 02301

  • Naloxone (Narcan)
  • Services available in Cape Verdean Creole 

Champion Plan
142 Crescent Street, Brockton, MA 02301

  • Ring the bell and ask for naloxone (Narcan)
  • Services available in Cape Verdean Creole, Spanish, and Portuguese 

Health Imperatives Brockton
111 Torrey Street, Brockton, MA 02301

  • Naloxone (Narcan)
  • HIV, and Hepatitis C testing
  • HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
  • Services available in Spanish, Portuguese, Cape Verdean Creole and Haitian Creole 

The Homeless Improvement Project
30 N. Main Street and 42 L Street, Brockton, MA 02301

  • Naloxone (Narcan) and fentanyl test strips
  • Food and supplies for people experiencing homelessness
  • Services available in Spanish and Portuguese
  • L Street hours: Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. 

Plymouth County Outreach

  • Harm reduction kits, including naloxone (Narcan) and fentanyl test strips
  • Homeless improvement kits, including water, snacks, flashlights, whistles, and harm reduction and seasonal supplies
  • Can deliver naloxone (Narcan), as needed

Carry Naloxone

Naloxone is a medicine that can save someone’s life if they are overdosing on opioids — whether it’s a prescription opioid, heroin, or a drug containing fentanyl. FDA approved forms of naloxone that are available include the nasal sprays Narcan® and Kloxxado, the ZIMHI prefilled syringe, and generic formulations that are used with a syringe or IV.

Naloxone is available over-the-counter from pharmacies in Massachusetts. Your insurance might cover all or some of the cost. There are also locations where you can obtain free naloxone It is good to have two containers on hand in case needed.

It is available in many pharmacies with or without a personal prescription. Learn how to get naloxone in Massachusetts.

If you or a loved one struggle with opioid use, you should have naloxone nearby. Ask your family and friends to carry it and let them know where your naloxone is, in case they need to use it.

People who previously used opioids and have stopped are at higher risk for an overdose. This includes people who have completed a detox program or have recently been released from jail, a residential treatment center or the hospital. These people now have a lower tolerance for opioids and can overdose more easily.

Anyone — including you — can give naloxone to someone who is overdosing from a prescription opioid medicine, heroin, or a drug containing fentanyl. Narcan® or Kloxxado nasal spray is a ready-to-use, needle-free medicine that can be used without any special training. They require no assembly and are sprayed into one nostril while the person lies on their back. The spray bottle (atomizer) is small and can fit in your pocket, purse, or glove compartment. Carry two spray bottles in case a second dose is needed.

Carrying naloxone does not mean that you are encouraging people to misuse opioids or other drugs. It just means that you are ready to save a life if they overdose.

For more information on laws that protect people who prescribe, carry, and use naloxone, please visit the Prescription Drug Abuse Policy System website .

Learn about protections under the Massachusetts "Good Samaritan" law .

Naloxone is very safe and saves lives. It can be given to anyone showing signs of an opioid overdose, even if you are not sure if they have used opioids. Naloxone is not addictive and cannot be used to get high.

Narcan® or Kloxxado nasal spray is an easy-to-use nasal spray packaged with two spray bottles (atomizers) in case a second dose is needed. A Quick Start guide in the box gives instructions and should be read in advance. People receiving naloxone kits that include a syringe and naloxone ampules or vials should receive a brief training on how to use it.


  • has been proven to be extremely safe, with no negative effects on the body if the person has not used opioids;
  • can also be used on pregnant women in overdose situations; and
  • does not cause any life-threatening side effects.

People with physical dependence on opioids may have signs of withdrawal within minutes after they are given naloxone, but this is normal and good because it means that the naloxone is helping the person to breathe again. Normal withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, changes in blood pressure, anxiety, rapid heart rate, sweating, nausea, vomiting and tremors. These symptoms are not life threatening but can be uncomfortable.

There are currently two naloxone nasal spray products that generally work the same: Narcan® or Kloxxado nasal spray. They begin working within minutes after they are given and should help the person wake up and breathe again. After administering a single spray in one nostril, put the person in the recovery position, on their side with arms forward, and upper leg bent at the knee in front of the body, somewhat like a sleep position. Further instructions can be found in the box with the product, or online by searching for "recovery position."

  • If the person does not respond to the first dose of naloxone within two to three minutes, a second dose should be given, after putting the person on their back again.
    • Important: If using a nasal spray, a second dose requires a second spray bottle (atomizers).
  • Naloxone works for 30 to 90 minutes, but because many opioids remain in the body longer than that, it is possible for a person to show signs of an overdose after naloxone wears off. Therefore, one of the most important steps is to call 911 so the person can receive medical attention to monitor their breathing and treat these possible effects. Wait for emergency personnel to arrive and be sure to tell them about the products and doses you gave the patient. Be sure to throw away all used spray bottles and naloxone products.

Get Medication for Opioid Use Disorder

Each person has a personal path to recovery from opioid use disorder, and treatment with medication is a medical standard of care. People who stop using opioids often go back to using them if they do not use medication to help them. Stopping and then restarting opioid use increases the chance of dying from an overdose.

People who stop using opioids often relapse (return to use) if they do not use medication to help them. Stopping and then restarting opioid use increases the chance of dying from an overdose.

Medications can help people be successful in their recovery by:

  • Lowering the risk of relapse
  • Lowering the risk of overdose death
  • Increasing the time they stay in treatment
  • Improving their lives and relationships with others

The three medications approved to treat opioid use disorder are:


  • Helps with withdrawal
  • You drink it
  • You have to go to a clinic daily for the first 90 days of treatment

Buprenorphine (Common brand names: Suboxone, Subutex)

  • Helps with withdrawal
  • You usually start by taking it daily as a tablet or film that dissolves under the tongue or in the cheek
  • New rules now make it easier for health care providers to get a certificate (waiver) to prescribe buprenorphine, but not all clinics will offer it
  • You typically get the prescription filled at a pharmacy
  • In most cases, you can take it at home
  • Once you have stabilized, your provider may recommend a long acting form of buprenorphine, such as Sublocade (injection).

Naltrexone (Common brand name: Vivitrol)

  • You must stop opioid use 7 to 10 days before starting
  • You might be prescribed other medications to help with withdrawal symptoms
  • Usually given as a shot once a month

Important Notes

  • These medications can save lives.
  • If you stop taking a medication for opioid use disorder, it can increase the risk of overdose and death.
  • You should discuss with a health care provider which one would work best for you.
  • You should never stop taking medication without the guidance of a health care provider. Never stop taking them on your own.
  • More information on medications for opioid use disorder can on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website 

Stand Up to Stigma: Words Matter

Stigma is the disapproval of, or discrimination against, a person based on a negative stereotype. Stigma often affects how people with opioid use disorder are treated, making it difficult for them to find jobs, places to live, and medical care. Even if unintentional, the hurtful words and actions of others can keep people who are struggling with addiction from getting help and staying in treatment for as long as they need it. 

Opioid use disorder is not a choice. It’s a disease that can be treated.

Many Americans incorrectly view opioid use disorder as a moral weakness or character flaw. In fact, it is a brain disease that can be treated.

Overcoming addiction takes more than willpower. Medicine can be a very effective part of the solution.

Stigma leads some people to believe that taking medicine for opioid use disorder is “replacing one drug for another” and "not real recovery". In fact, people who take FDA-approved medicines like buprenorphine (Suboxone®), naltrexone (Vivitrol®), and methadone are more likely to stay in recovery and enjoy healthy, productive lives.

Stigma keeps people from getting the best possible care.

The myth that addiction is a lack of willpower stops people from seeing their doctors and getting treatment that can help them rebuild their lives, relationships, and health.

Stigma harms well-being and quality of life.

As a result of harmful attitudes and stereotypes, people with addictions often face devastating consequences like discrimination in employment, loss of housing, and poor treatment from health care professionals.

Stigma leads to overdose deaths.

Fear of being judged or discriminated against can keep people from getting the help they need and increase their chances of dying from an overdose.

You can make a difference by creating a stigma-free environment in your family, community, workplace, and/or health care setting.

With your friends and family

  • Learn how to talk to a loved one about their opioid use.
  • Understand options for treatment with medications for opioid use disorder and support your loved one’s interest in going to and staying in treatment, which can be years long.
  • Use person-first language (e.g., say “person with opioid use disorder” instead of “addict”) to put people before their diagnosis and choose words that lessen blame and shame.

In your community

  • Learn how faith-based and community organizations can support people with opioid use disorder in finding and staying in treatment with the aim of rebuilding their lives and getting back to work.
  • Create an action plan to change negative beliefs in your community about opioid use disorder and its treatment with medications through education, grassroots organizing, and advocacy.

In your workplace

In your health care setting

Dispose of Prescription Opioids

It is not safe to share unused medications with others, and it is important remove all leftover prescription pain medication from your home. Medication take-back drop boxes and events are the best way to safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medicines that have passed their expiration date or are no longer needed.

All medicines dropped off at the drug disposal sites will be destroyed and discarded. Before disposing of medications, remove all personal information on the label of pill bottles or medicine packaging. To safely dispose of medicine at home, mix with coffee grounds or other unpalatable substances before disposing in the trash or check the FDA list for opioids that can be flushed down the toilet. You can also ask your local pharmacist for advice on how best to dispose of a specific medicine.

Resources for medication and drug disposal locations in Brockton, MA 

When a student is in crisis or feeling overwhelmed, Bridgewater offers resources and supports to help manage through difficult situations. Whether the issue is related to a student’s health, welfare, mental health, physical safety, financial insecurity or another concern, our CARE Team and other BSU professionals are here to help.

Students, families, faculty and staff are encouraged to review the Student Crisis Information and resources page for assisting a student in a crisis situation.