Sep 30, 2014 6:32 PM

Heroin overdoses on NH's Seacoast spike

SOMERSWORTH - Heroin overdoses are on the rise in certain SeaCoast communities, and that includes Somersworth where six people were treated for heroin overdoses within a 2-week period in September.

Police say the number of people overdosing could be that they are using an unusually strong batch of the drug.
The six incidents took place between Sept. 10 and 24th.
Scott Schuler, operations manager of American Ambulance, says EMT's using Narcan, a medication that reverses the effects of heroin, is saving lives.

"Narcan is actually an antagonist to opioids, so it goes in, it binds itself to a neuro receptor and it prevents the heroin or the fentanyl, whatever opioids on board, from working," Schuler said. "Narcan's been used for decades in EMS, however recently it's been given to police departments and fire departments for them to use at the EMT level and different first responders level," he said. "The concept is, if a responder can be there first and they have the ability to give this medication that's now in an auto-injector form, just like somebody would have for an epipen if they were allergic to something, it's the same type thing it's just a matter of taking the pen and sticking it, versus waiting for us to get there, draw the drug up, administer it."

The city's EMS contractor, American Ambulance, usually handles two opiate heroin overdoses in the city a month.
"On average we were doing about two a month here," Schuler said. "When you look at our volume we give it maybe about, statistically we're consistent with the administration of it with the state."

Schuler also said that American Ambulance staff report any potential overdoses to officials so they can track the incidents.


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