Apr 19, 2016 4:39 PM

Seacoast Matters: Somersworth officials bringing Narcan to users after spike in overdoses


SOMERSWORTH - Emergency responders are starting a new Narcan distribution program that they hope will save lives. During the past week, they’ve responded to seven heroin overdoses in their small town. While they were able to save the lives of five users, two people died.

“Yeah, it’s a lot. It’s not the heroin of two or three years ago. We’re dealing with Fentanyl,” said Dean Lemire, who works at Goodwin Community Healthcare.

Lemire says there’s a misconception on the streets that snorting, instead of injecting heroin, is safe. But he’s known six people who overdosed after snorting just a little bit of heroin.

“This is powerful stuff and we need to have the tools in place to combat it,” he said.

He says the users aren’t going to drug stores or to community health centers, like his, to get Narcan. Whether that’s because of the cost, inconvenience, embarrassment, or fear of arrest.

That’s why Deputy Chief Scott Schuler of American Ambulance has decided to bring the Narcan to the users.

In a first of its kind program, Chief Schuler’s emergency responders will contact heroin users who have overdosed already. They’ll ask to visit their home to give them free Narcan and to show them how it works. The user will also be given a short lesson on CPR.

“Our goal is to get it [Narcan] in the hands of the user and the user is not going to come to us. Let’s see if we can go to them,” said Chief Schuler.

Providing follow-up care to those who have overdosed is a fairly new concept, according to Chief Schuler. Typically, the user is treated and released from the hospital with no further contact from a health professional; unless he overdoses again. And the second or third overdose, could be the last.


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