Aug 12, 2016 7:35 PM
KEENE — The Keene Fire Department responded to three separate opiate overdoses - using Narcan each time - over the course of about eight and a half hours on Thursday.
According to the department, at least two of them involved heroin.
Officials said they also responded to two or three additional overdoses involving Suboxone, a substance that is used to treat opioid addictions and can be addictive itself.
On Friday, residents in Keene reacted to this apparent spike.
“Not having ever been on drugs or anything like that, it’s tough to comprehend, very difficult to comprehend,” said Bob Melanson, who has lived in Keene for almost his entire life. “To know that three people in the area in one day or even in a matter of hours, yeah, it’s very disturbing.”
Data released by the Keene Fire Department shows it administered Narcan 93 times to 48 different patients between Jan. 1 and July 31 of this year. Thirty-six of those administrations happened in June and July alone.
During the same period of time, the city also had three fatal overdoses.
“It’s my hope that we can get our act together,” said Alan Greene, who has worked in Keene and lived in the area for at least two decades. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take.”
Greene was skeptical of the statistics available so far this year, wondering about how they compare to previous years.
“For me the measure is how many people are abusing the drugs period, and I understand that’s a really difficult number to get at because people don’t voluntarily add themselves to that roster,” he said.
Residents also said the numbers were hard to understand because they had never struggled with addiction themselves.
“I can’t imagine what kind of mind-state people must be in, especially the first time they do something, like try some of those drugs, that we all know it’s extremely addictive and extremely risky,” Melanson said. “It’s very difficult to comprehend.”
Still, residents agreed they have noticed an increase in the amount of addictive substances they hear about circulating in their own community, an issue they said the whole state or even the country should address sooner rather than later.
“We’re just in the midst of it and I think our state as all states are unprepared for how to respond to it,” Greene said. “We also have to help people who are going to make bad choices because that’s unfortunately the reality of the world, is that some people are going to make bad choices.”
Stay tuned to NH1 News as we continue covering this ongoing drug crisis.
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