narcan

A candidate for alderman in Manchester is proposing a controversial idea to tackle the city’s opioid epidemic that involves putting those who overdose...in jail.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire authorities are investigating a possible opioid overdose by a 6-year-old boy in Manchester.

Police say they were called to an apartment early Tuesday for an unresponsive child. Police say it's unclear how the boy became incapacitated. They say he was revived after Narcan was administered by first responders and remains hospitalized.

The incident happened the same day Gov. Chris Sununu and the state's new "drug czar" visited a Dover bakery to discuss the state's opioid crisis.

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Despite mounting public awareness, New Hampshire, like other states, struggles to contain its opioid epidemic. Part of the problem is a lack of real-time information about who’s using opioids, especially fentanyl, and how government policies can help them stop.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Laconia firefighters say they've seen a spike in the number of drug overdoses and use of the overdose antidote Narcan in the last five weeks compared to the same time last year.

Assistant Fire Chief Kirk Beattie says "the numbers have been the worst we've ever seen in this area."

WMUR-TV reports that Laconia firefighters have responded to an average of 30 overdoses in that five-week period.

Research from the University of New Hampshire's Carsey School of Public Policy shows that deaths caused by drugs, alcohol and suicide nationwide rose by 52 percent from 2000 to 2014.  Young and middle-aged white men show the highest rate of death by drugs, alcohol and suicide. The research also shows these rates surpass the next 10 leading causes of death for white men combined, including accidents, diabetes and heart disease, to name a few.   

On a Saturday afternoon at the fire department, a handful of people are learning how to use the now widely available overdose-reversal drug Narcan. It’s one thing to get it into the hands of those who may need it, but it’s another to know how to use it properly.

As part of our series Hope on the Front Lines, Morning Edition host Rick Ganley and producer Michael Brindley attended a training in Keene for people interested in learning life-saving skills, including how to administer Narcan, the drug used by first responders to counteract opioid overdose.

But what is Narcan, and how does it work?

Narcan is the brand name for the drug naloxone, which blocks the effects of opioids and reverses overdose. 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

CVS Health is the latest pharmacy chain to offer the overdose reversal drug naloxone, known commonly as Narcan, at its stores in New Hampshire. 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Within the week, Manchester middle and high schools will start carrying the overdose reversal drug Narcan. That’s after the Manchester School Board approved the proposal 10 to 4 Monday night but not after a lengthy discussion.

  Under the agreement, Irish drug company Adapt Pharma will provide two doses of Narcan nasal spray to any New Hampshire high school that wants it.  

The company is working in collaboration with the Clinton Foundation. It offered free Narcan to all U.S. high schools in January. 

State Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeff Myers says giving schools the option of stocking the drug at no cost makes sense. 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Getting the overdose reversal drug Narcan into Manchester’s public schools cleared its first hurdle Monday night.

With a unanimous vote, the request passed the school board’s coordination committee and now heads for a final vote in front of the full board on March 28.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Manchester public schools may soon stock the anti-overdose drug Narcan. The city’s school board will be taking up the proposal at its monthly meeting Monday evening.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Despite Tuesday's primary wrapping up late Tuesday night, the New Hampshire House returned to business the very next morning.

Lawmakers had a slate of bills on the docket Wednesday from continuing Medicaid expansion for another two years, to funding full-day kindergarten.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Lawmakers worked out the kinks Tuesday morning on a bill aimed to connect those who receive the overdose reversal drug Narcan with a recovery coach.

If passed this measure would require hospital emergency departments throughout the state to refer such patients to a trained mentor who can speak with the patient and link him or her to treatment.

The bill, however, does not require hospitals to hire any new employees.

Melissa Crews of Hope for New Hampshire Recovery told lawmakers having patients meet with someone immediately after an overdose is key.

Most Rite Aid drug stores in New Hampshire will now stock Narcan.

If administered early enough, the drug can save lives by reversing an overdose.  

Pharmacies with a standing doctor’s order can distribute Narcan to anyone who asks for it – just like a flu shot. On Monday, Rite Aid became the first pharmacy franchise to get a standing order for Narcan at all its pharmacies in the state. The company has committed to stocking drug at most of its 69 NH locations.  

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The overdose reversal drug naloxone, better known as Narcan, has been available to anyone who wants it since June. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get.

John Burns runs a substance abuse support group for families in Dover. He says since the law passed, none of the nearly 30 people in his group has been able to get a prescription.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Nashua is considering whether to make the overdose reversal drug naloxone, better known as Narcan, available in schools. Currently the school district is weighing liability concerns, the cost and how much training would be needed before moving forward.

Courtesy of Rhode Island State Police

More than 4,500 sets of the overdose reversal drug naloxone, better known as Narcan, should be available across the state next month.

Joe Harding, director the state Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services, said the kits and training for about 100 people, were paid for by a $450,000 federal grant.

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 Lawmakers and Governor Maggie Hassan supported legislation this year to make Narcan more accessible so it can be used to save the lives of people experiencing an opiate overdose. Narcan has often been referred to as the Epipen of heroin, but David Brooks says that comparison doesn’t hold up in some key ways. Brooks is a reporter for The Concord Monitor and blogs at Granitegeek.org. He spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello.

Narcan, also known as naloxone, is an anti-overdose drug.
Paige Sutherland for NHPR

It was a quiet summer night in June when EMTs in Laconia got the call of a possible overdose at a nearby house.

When they arrived, they were brought to a bedroom with posters on the wall, laundry spread on the floor and a snowboard laid up against a dresser. 

Punching Judy via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/3WYLgF

People who use heroin or other opioids will now be able to obtain a prescription for an emergency treatment that can reverse the effects of an overdose.

Nalaxone was previously only available to police officers and emergency medical providers trained in its use. On Tuesday, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill into law that removes Nalaxone – which is sold under the trade name Narcan - from the state’s list of controlled substances, making it available to drug users and the friends and family of people with a history of opioid abuse. 

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

As the heroin crisis in New Hampshire continues, and the number of overdoses grows, communities around the state are addressing the issues with increasing urgency.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A bill allowing doctors to prescribe the overdose reversal drug Narcan may soon become law after the Senate passed the measure on Thursday.

If Governor Maggie Hassan signs off on the legislation– doctors across the state will be able to put Narcan in the hands of family, friends and users. Currently first responders and law enforcement are allowed to administer it.

The Governor would not say if she would back the bill but said she will closely review it.

Republican Andy Sanborn of Bedford says this bill is about saving lives.

Credit Taber Andrew Bain

It will soon be easier for police to reverse heroin and opioid overdoses.

Governor Maggie Hassan and the Department of Safety will create a new license for police that would allow them to administer a nasal spray called as naloxone, or Narcan. Narcan is what’s called an opioid antagonist, and it can save people in the throes of an overdose.

Police in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have access to the drug.