LACONIA — After learning yesterday that Gov. Maggie Hassan and N.H. Department of Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes will present draft rules for licensing the use of NARCAN for police officer, Police Chief Chris Adam said city police will not be administering the drug in the foreseeable future.
NARCAN is a drug that is used for emergency treatment of heroin or other opioid overdoses.
Adams made it statements yesterday at the Police Commission meeting when he updated the commission on the state's proposed protocol guidelines.
"We wouldn't do it. . . and we have a full-time fire department who get there before or within seconds of police," said Adams.
He said he could see where police using NARCAN in rural communities without full time fire departments could benefit the community but that is not the case in Laconia.
Adams told commissioners he spoke briefly with Fire Chief Ken Erickson after getting the news and will be meeting at length with him on the subject in the future
Last year, Laconia had 10 fatal opiate-driven overdoses, said Adams. He added that Erickson told him that between 40 and 50 units of NARCAN were administered by emergency responders in 2014 and Erickson estimated the department saved about 10 lives that way.
NARCAN (naloxone) has been around for a number of years and used to require an injection with a needle to administer. The drug recently became available in a nasal spray form making it easier for non-medical professionals to administer.
In her press release, Hassan said, "The rising rate of heroin and opioid overdoses is one of the most pressing public health and safety challenges facing our state."
In September of 2014, Hassan created a strategic task force and tasked it with addressing the increasing numbers of people who were dead or dying from opiate abuse. The task force was chaired by Barthelmes.
The recommendations of the strategic task force were submitted to the Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Coordinating Board yesterday for review. The final rules will be presented to the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules.
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