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Public Use of Narcan Up 400 Percent in Manchester

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Drug overdose deaths dropped last year in Manchester. Emergency personnel say more access to the opiate overdose reversal drug Narcan is a contributing factor.

In Manchester, drug overdose deaths were down by 27 percent in 2017. At the same time, the number of non-medical personnel using Narcan jumped by more than 400 percent.

In 2015, the state allowed people to buy Narcan at certain pharmacies. Critics argued this would cause more people to use drugs.

Credit AMR

Chris Stawasz, regional director for American Medical Response, says this wider access has only saved lives. AMR provides ambulance service in Manchester and surrounding communities.

“I don’t care if they are going to use again – I want them to stay alive so they have the opportunity to get into recovery,” Stawasz said.

“It doesn’t matter to me who gives them the Narcan or the reason why. I just don’t want to be picking them up on the side of the road and they are deceased because they are someone’s son or daughter.”

In Nashua, overdose deaths rose 3 percent last year. The public use of Narcan increased by more than 300 percent.

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