Aug 22, 2015 9:01 AM
Manchester company reports 361 drug overdoses and 52 deaths this year
MANCHESTER - The city has seen 361 drug overdoses, including 52 that were fatal this year, according to new information from American Medical Response, the company that provides ambulance service in the city.
“We’ve been dealing with this crisis for some time now, and it shows no signs of abating,” Christopher Stawasz, AMR’s general manager in N.H. and Maine, said in a statement Friday.
“It’s imperative that all first responders and the healthcare community work together, share information, and stay one step ahead of what’s become a serious threat to our state’s public health. The good news is that opioid abuse is now being recognized as that – a serious threat to our state’s public health and public safety.”
So far in 2015, AMR has administered almost 1,000 mgs of naloxone (Narcan) in Manchester and credits the drug’s increasing availability as an important life-saving measure. The drug can reverse the deadly effects of an overdose if administered in time.
AMR has trained police departments in Nashua and Manchester in the administration in of the drug and recent legislation filed by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) aims to protect those who administer naloxone from prosecution.
“We’re moving in the right direction but these are Band-Aids on a much larger wound,” Stawasz said.
“Narcan can save a life but won’t stop an addiction. You can clear the evidence from the parks, but it’ll be there again if people aren’t seeking treatment. But with resources strained across the board from emergency medical services to law enforcement to treatment facilities, it’s a challenge to get people into a recovery program. Often these victims can’t wait one more week or one more day or in some cases one more hour,” he said.
AMR says it is working with Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.
“We’ll be working collaboratively with the city, continuing our aggressive use of naloxone, and working together to develop solutions around education, prevention and treatment that can help lessen the scourge of opioid addiction in New Hampshire,” said Stawasz.