O P I N I O N
Stand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.
These numbers speak volumes about the efforts of all Harm Reduction specialists in Manchester who are focused on reducing the frequency of fatalities from opioid overdoses [Continued high death rate from overdoses attributed to synthetic fentanyl, Nov. 14, 2023 Manchesterinklink.com]. The prevention of total overdoses will always be subjective, when contrasted with increasing amounts of fentanyl and other highly potent opioids which are now being found in street drugs. Even though we do applaud our neighbors in Nashua for being able to manage a slight decrease in the total number of overdoses. Yet when it comes to reducing the frequency and total numbers of fatalities from opioid overdoses, Manchester is clearly doing some outstanding work. Even as total overdoses are slightly up in Manchester, while being slightly down in Nashua. This shows us that our new Director of Overdose Death Prevention (Andrew Warner) is doing a fantastic job with the specific task that he was hired to do. Along with extensive support and assistance from our Director of Housing Stability (Adrienne Beloin), as well as Harm Reduction outreach and aid specialists in the field – which include Director Warner, myself, many other individuals, and many Harm Reduction groups like the New Hampshire Harm Reduction Coalition.<
While these numbers might not be perfect, for a variety of reasons, they certainly don’t lie. The article which is cited as the source for these numbers comes from AMR Representative Christopher Stawasz. In that article he talks about the two best ways of reducing the fatality levels for opioid overdoses. The first is to increase the availability and education about Narcan. Narcan and education about it is widely available, often for free. It will effectively prevent the fatality of an opioid overdose as long as it is administered in time, and administered correctly. The second is to increase education and awareness about best practices for using in ways that will help to prevent more needless fatalities. Most importantly: “Never use alone!”
Together we are making some tremendous strides in reducing the fatality levels of opioid overdoses in our beloved Queen City. This data is the proof of that. It may be true that we might never prevent all of the fatal overdoses here in Manchester, or anywhere else. When someone does die from an opioid overdose, it is just as tragic as any other preventable death. Many of us have still mourned for way too many friends, family, and loved ones. While doing our best to comfort their other friends, family, and loved ones. Nobody should ever have to die from this. Not when death prevention is as simple as making sure that someone is nearby with the proper tools (Narcan) to save your life before it’s too late. Please join us in our increasingly successful efforts to prevent these needless deaths. Learn about Narcan, and carry a reasonable supply of it at all times. Learn how to help educate people about the dangers of “using alone.” Learn the importance of keeping people alive, at least as long as it takes to help them find workable pathways to sustainable recovery from the potential fatalities of their substance use disorders. Especially when those disorders can so easily, and tragically, become needlessly fatal.
Stay safe out there. And please, help us in our efforts to help keep others safe too. Much love to you all.
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