LACONIA — It didn't take long for the hands-on instruction in administering Narcan which was given at Monday event at the Beane Conference Center to pay dividends.
Less than four days later, a young woman who had attended the event and took with her a free Narcan dose is credited with saving her friend's life early Friday morning by calling 911 and administering the Narcan as a nasal spray.
Laconia Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Riley, speaking at an afternoon press conference at Laconia Fire Department's Central Station, said it was the first case of the successful civilian use of Narcan in the city .
He said the department received a call that a young female had overdosed on an opioid at 6:45 a.m.
"A friend of the victim had recently recovered a free Narcan dose earlier this week during the Narcan give away in Laconia. The friend called 911, administered Narcan and started CPR. When we arrived, the patient was conscious and alert. Her friend had sat through the training and was able to save a life."
Riley said the most important thing the young woman who saved her friend's life had done was to make the 911 call, pointing out that Narcan is only effective for a matter of minutes and an overdose may recur after its restorative effect is exhausted, especially when people who have taken heroin laced with fentanyl.
"We've seen that happen when transporting people with drug overdoses by ambulance and have had to administer multiple doses," said Riley. "'It's important to call 911 and get help as it is very likely that the person will slip back into a coma and die."
He said that he hopes that the young woman who overdosed will immediately seek the kind of treatment she needs for her addiction problems, noting that there is a 60 percent recovery rate for those who get treatment immediately after an incident.
"People may think they've dodged a bullet because they were saved by Narcan are fooling themselves if they don't get treatment," said Riley.
He said that 42 people attended Monday's event and more than half of the 100 Narcan kits available were distributed. He noted that Narcan is available over the counter without a prescription at Rite Aid pharmacies.
He said that it was the 10th overdose the department has responded to in just the first 15 days of the New Year, which puts in on a pace for 240 overdoses, more than double the number responded to last year when there were about 90 overdoses. He said there were 46 overdoses in the city in 2014 and 26 in 2013.
Fire Chief Ken Erickson has said that there were a dozen deaths in 2015 traced to overdoses.
Also speaking at the press conference were Lisa Leary and Traci Fowler of the Partnership for Public Health and Rick Cricenti of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.
Cricenti said that HHS had purchased 4,500 Narcan kits to be distributed in each of the 13 regional public health networks in the state.
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