- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire safety officials are offering police officers a training course on administering life-saving doses of Narcan to people who overdose on heroin, painkillers and other opioids.

The eight-hour course is available immediately and those who complete it attain the new licensing level of law enforcement provider.

The state has seen a spike in heroin overdoses in recent years and Narcan use doubled in 2014 over the previous year, state Department of Safety officials said Thursday.

Until now, only EMTs with 100 hours of training could administer Naloxone - better known by its trademark Narcan - to counter overdoses.

Officials said the training course is voluntary and includes first aid and CPR as well as a Narcan-specific component on how to administer the nasal spray antidote and monitor an overdose victim’s breathing and other reactions.

“Narcan itself is not going to be the tool that’s saving lives,” said Nick Mercuri, the department’s administrator of fire standards, training and emergency medical services. “CPR is the big piece we want to make sure happens - the teaching of rescue breathing.

“Narcan will take a minute or two to start working,” Mercuri added. “We have to make sure the person’s breathing is supported.”

Mercuri said deaths from overdoses occur because the person is not breathing adequately.

Officials said at a press conference at the Incident Planning and Operations Center that no plans are currently in place to distribute Narcan kits to relatives and friends of drug addicts, as neighboring Vermont does in a pilot program it began last year. Mercuri said that service is still under discussion in New Hampshire.

Each dose of Narcan costs about $25 to $30 and some overdose victims require more than one dose, he said. Narcan was used on 1,050 overdose victims in 2013 and on 1,921 during 2014, he said. The chief medical examiner’s office reports 70 heroin deaths in 2013, up from 38 the previous year.


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