Concord, NH- In an effort to reduce the impact of overdoses, the New Hampshire Dept. of Health and Human Services is expanding a program that distributes the opioid reversal drug naloxone to communities across the state.
Over the past year, New Hampshire has invested nearly $3 million in State Opioid Response funds to increase public access to naloxone to prevent opioid overdose deaths, and reduce stigma often associated with opioid overdose.
Gov. Chris Sununu says New Hampshire became one of the first states to distribute naloxone in 2016. In a statement on the expanded program Sununu said, “This year, we became the first state in the country to launch statewide placement of NaloxBoxes – a tool proven to save lives in overdose situations. New Hampshire is leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to combat the nationwide substance misuse epidemic.”
According to the New Hampshire Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the state saw a total of 463 confirmed drug deaths in 2022. Of those, 224 involved fentanyl alone, and 171 others involved fentanyl combined with another drug.
The total number of confirmed drug deaths in 2022 was up 6% from 2021, when there was 436 drug deaths.
Health officials say many school districts across the state have begun to include naloxone into their school emergency preparedness and response plans. According to state health officials, more than 100 naloxone kits have been delivered to schools, and more than 51 naloxone boxes have been installed in schools out of 192 installed across the state.
From Sept. 1, 2022, to Sept. 30 of this year, the state has purchased more than 58,000 naloxone kits for distribution statewide. Of that total, 11,000 are in other overdose prevention kits that contain supplies such as gloves, fentanyl test strips and CPR masks. In April of this year, New Hampshire became the first state in the nation to launch statewide placement of Naloxboxes in all ten counties.
The Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Ballard says getting access to overdose-reversal drugs across the state is a priority. Ballard said, “Our goal is to make naloxone widely accessible in every corner of the state, and we value our partnership with the New Hampshire Doorway system that helps move it forward through a coordinated and collaborative effort.”