By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Firefighters responded to 30 drug overdoses in August as the city’s problem of opioid abuse continues to put lives at risk, Fire Chief Ken Erickson said Friday.
None of the cases were fatal.
First responders administer naloxone, also called Narcan, to reverse the effects of an overdose. But this treatment is most effective immediately after an overdose. Lasting medical complications may arise if a person overdoses and is unconscious for longer periods.
“Even if we administer Narcan to reverse opioids, after more than five or six minutes, there can be significant damage to the brain and heart muscle,” he said. “We have a pretty remarkable save rate but we’re not going to be able to save everybody.”
Laconia Police Chief Matt Canfield said drug-related problems in the city and the state are as bad as he has seen them in his 20 years in law enforcement. There were 20 drug overdoses in Laconia in July.
There have been at least 187 drug deaths statewide so far this year, according to the New Hampshire attorney general’s office. It did not have a city-by-city breakdown. The state ranks second nationally for per capita deaths due to drug overdose at 34.2 per 100,000.
Overall, the Laconia Fire Department responded to 446 incidents in August, up from 436 last year and 285 in August 2010.
Erickson said 73 percent of those calls were for ambulance service, and 45 of those calls were for high-risk patients.
There were also four building fires, including one at the Laconia Waste Transfer Station, a blaze that did more than $100,000 damage.
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