For Immediate Release
January 15, 2015
CONCORD – Continuing efforts to improve public health and safety by addressing New Hampshire’s rising rates of heroin and opioid abuse, Governor Maggie Hassan and Department of Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes today announced that they will present draft rules to create a new license that would allow all trained police officers the option to carry and administer intranasal naloxone.
Also known as Narcan, naloxone is an emergency treatment for heroin and opioid overdoses that can be administered with an intranasal auto-injector. Currently, all four general levels of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) have the ability in New Hampshire to administer Narcan, which includes many of the state’s firefighters. The new rules would create a new license level authorizing its use by trained police officers who choose to apply for the license.
“The rising rate of heroin and opioid overdoses is one of the most pressing public health and safety challenges facing our state,” Governor Hassan said. “Creating a new license level for law enforcement is a common-sense step forward that will help us save lives, enhancing our ongoing efforts to ensure the health and safety of our communities.”
In order to address the challenge posed by New Hampshire’s rising rate of opioid overdoses, the Governor asked public health and safety officials to recommend the most appropriate response for the state. The new licensing level giving trained law enforcement the option to carry and administer Narcan was included in the group’s recommendations, which can be found at www.governor.nh.gov/documents/narcan-report.pdf .
“I thank all members of the working group for their unyielding dedication to the health, safety and overall well-being of our people and communities, and I will continue working with all stakeholders to build on our efforts to address the deadly heroin challenge facing our state and region,” Governor Hassan said.
“In September 2014, the Governor created a Strategic Task Force in order to combat the increase in drug overdose deaths caused by heroin and other opiates throughout New Hampshire in recent years,” said Commissioner Barthelmes, who helped lead the group’s efforts. “One of the results of those efforts was a recommendation to train and equip law enforcement officers to administer naloxone in an attempt to prevent as many of these unfortunate deaths as possible. As part of that recommendation, administrative rules to authorize law enforcement officers to administer naloxone have been drafted and will be submitted to the Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Coordinating Board for review and comment. I am hopeful that this effort, and others like it, will be successful in addressing this serious public health issue.”
As currently proposed, the rules require that interested police officers must have completed the state’s training program for the safe and effective use of Narcan, a CPR program that meets or exceeds the American Heart Association’s guidelines for healthcare providers, and a first-aid training program that follows the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Best Practices Guide.
In addition, the law enforcement provider must provide a written statement signed by the primary EMS service's head of unit affirming that the applicant is affiliated with the licensed EMS unit.
The new license is voluntary, and local communities will able to choose whether or not to pursue the licenses.
The draft rules will first be presented to the New Hampshire Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Coordinating Board today at 1 p.m. at the New Hampshire Fire Academy in Concord. Following the board’s review and comment, the Department of Safety will present the final rules to the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules.
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