Overdoses up, but deaths down

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of agriculture As the battle against opioid abuse continues, the number of fatal overdoses in Nashua is down compared to this time in 2017.

NASHUA – Narcan seems to be working in Nashua, as opioid-related deaths are down for 2018 at the same time the number of overdoses continues to increase.

So far in 2018, there have been 194 reported suspected overdoses, with 20 of them resulting in death. Nashua Lt. Brian Kenney said although overdoses are up, fatal overdoses are down. He said by this time last year, there had been 166 overdoses, with 33 of those being fatal.

“We’re trending in the right direction,” Kenney said. “I tend to stay away from using the word good news because we’re talking about death, but we’re trending in the right direction.”

Kenney said there were 15 overdoses in August, which is down from 29 in August 2017. Also, there were no fatal overdoses in August, compared to the four in August 2017.

New Hampshire is currently ranked as having the third-highest overdose rate in the country at 39 per 100,000 residents, but Narcan works to decrease the number of fatal overdoses. In 2017, there were 395 opioid-related deaths across the state, compared to 2,774 emergency Narcan administrations.

Meanwhile, members of the Mayor’s Opioid Task Force met this week to discuss an expected $45.8 million in federal funding through a State Opioid Response Grant, which would allow organizers to create a hub and spoke system of care for those struggling with substance use disorder.

The federal funding is expected to trickle into the state in the fall. The new system should allow the creation of nine access hubs across New Hampshire, each geographically located with the goal of ensuring no one has to travel more than an hour to get help.

“The hubs are supposed to be hospitals in the nine regions,” Nashua Public Health & Community Services Division Director Bobbie Bagley said.

While discussing the details of the system, group members raised a number of questions on which they seek clarification, including:

 whether they will have the same access to Narcan they have now;

 concerns about housing and transportation;

 whether they will have enough time to implement the new system; and

 questions about the use of Suboxone and Vivitrol.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.