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Jan 15, 2015 5:34 PM

Gov. Maggie Hassan moves to have police give drug at the scene to revive overdosers


CONCORD - Gov. Maggie Hassan added a new tool in the battle to reduce heroin and opioid drug abuses -- letting all police be able to administer naloxone or narcan at the scene of an overdose.

The move is voluntary allowing all police department executives to decide if they want their police trained in this or want to have certified firefighters or emergency medical technicians give the narcan.

Several months ago, Hassan named a commission of stakeholders to come up with recommendations to reduce overdoses that have spiked dramatically in the past two years.

``This step the commission is doing today is the implementation of rules that would allow law enforcement to choose whether they want to be trained in the administration of Narcan and that would allow them to carry Narcan with them in the event they are first on the scene in an overdue and they could really save a life,'' Hassan said.

David Lang, president of the Professional Association of Fire Fighters served on the commission that Safety Commissioner John Barthlemes chaired.

``The next step is the governor assembles these stakeholders and professionals to sit around the table and come up with a New Hampshire way in which to solve this problem and the way in which to do that is to license police officers that want to do it in those communities that may not have the rapid response time of a full-time EMS department that needs to be there in two to four minutes,'' Lang said during an interview.

Barthelmes has the state power to issue emergency rules that apply in this matter for six months. In the meantime the proposal will go through the process of a legislative rules panel holding a hearing and take public comment on it.

"The rising rate of heroin and opioid overdoses is one of the most pressing public health and safety challenges facing our state," Hassan said. "Creating a new license level for law enforcement is a common-sense step forward that will help us save lives, enhancing our ongoing efforts to ensure the health and safety of our communities."

Barthelmes said the first product of the commission's work was to identify the 2,500 or so firefighters and EMTs be certified to give narcan.

``I am hopeful that this effort, and others like it, will be successful in addressing this seriouspublic health issue,'' Barthelmes added.

Kevin Landrigan can be reached at 513-9773 or klandrigan@nh1.com.



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