LACONIA — For friends and family members of someone with an opioid addiction, fear of losing that person to an overdose is something they live with every day. There is hope for recovery, though. An event is planned for Monday, Jan. 11, to provide information about treatment and recovery, and to make available Naloxone kits, also known as Narcan, which can save the live of someone in the midst of an overdose.
"We think this is an opportunity to to not only give out the kits, but there are resources available to get help," said Lisa Leary, director of substance use disorder systems integration at the Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health.
The LRPPH, one of several agencies partnering with the state's Department of Health and Human Services, is hosting the Jan. 11 event, which will be held at the Beane Conference Center in Laconia, from noon to 1:30 p.m.
The Partnership for Public Health will also be hosting a similar event at the Bessie Rowell Community Center in Franklin, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 11.
"We hope that anyone at risk of overdose or knows someone at risk of overdose will come," said Leary.
At the event, organizers will have 100 Naloxone kits available, each of which will contain two doses as well as the equipment to nasally administer the life-saving drug. Paramedics will be on hand to provide training for administering the drug. Also at the event will be representatives of groups and agencies, such as peer support groups, health care and health insurance professionals, Stand Up Laconia, recovery counselors and people who are in recovery.
She cautions that Naloxone alone is not enough to save someone from an overdose. The drug is only effective for minutes, and it's possible for the overdose to recur after the Naloxone has worn off. That's why and important part of the training is to call 9-1-1 first, then administer the Naloxone while paramedics are on the way.
Leary acknowledges that there are some who think the availability of a drug like Naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an otherwise-fatal overdose, might encourage users of heroin, since it mitigates the risk of death. But, she thinks that's a common misperception.
"I don't believe people who are addicted to heroin are going to change their behavior based on the availability of Naloxone," she said.
"I would ask, what if it was your son, or your granddaughter, would you not want to have the drug available? This is a chronic disease. Think of someone who has heart disease. Would you not give someone CPR because they didn't follow their diet?" She knows of many people who were administered Naloxone several times before they sought treatment, and have since been in recovery for many years.
For more information on resources for recovery from opiod misuse, visit anyoneanytimenh.org.
Naloxone kits are now also available through Rite Aid pharmacies. A representative of the Rite Aid in Laconia said that kits can be had without a prescription and that most health care plans cover the cost of the drug, though there may be a $7.75 charge for the atomizer, which allows the drug to be administered nasally.