Around New England

Battling Drug Crisis, NH Fire Dept. Launching “Mobile Opioid Response Unit”

January 18, 2019

WMUR is reporting the capital city fire department is launching a new “mobile opioid response unit” that will follow ambulances responding to heroin-related calls in order to help overdose victims in particular find the treatment and rehabilitation they need.

The Concord fire department unit will initially be funded by a recently received $127,000 federal grant and will provide immediate follow-up care to those needing medical intervention for overdose. Until now, the report says, emergency medical service (EMS) providers have not been able to offer anything to patients other than immediate medical relief.

The response unit program will be the first of its kind in the entire state. New Hampshire has been ranked by numerous government health agencies as one of the hardest hit states when it comes to opioid addiction and overdoses.

Concord Fire Chief Aaron McIntire tells WMUR that EMS personnel are limited in what they can offer.

“We kind of do an immediate lifesaving treatment, but then not really have anywhere we can send” patients after they’ve been revived, he said.

And after being revived by EMS personnel using Narcan, a patient, McIntire continued, may feel “very vulnerable and wanting to get into treatment and rehab, and we can have a crew intervene with them right at that time. Our likelihood of getting them into a successful program is going to be better.”

WMUR reports the plan has been approved by the Concord City Council and is expected to be given the green light by Governor Chris Sununu and his executive council in the next 30 days.