STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY
NEW RULES AND TRAINING INCREASE ACCESS TO A LIFE-SAVING DRUG
CONCORD, N.H. – The State Department of Safety announced today new rules and training allowing law enforcement personnel to more easily obtain a license to administer life-saving doses of Narcan to citizens experiencing an opioid overdose.
“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. “By creating a new license level that would allow all trained police officers the option of carrying Narcan, we can increase the safe and effective use of this life-saving emergency treatment and enhance our ongoing efforts to ensure the health and safety of our communities.”
The new rules and training are in response to the top recommendation made by the Governor’s Strategic Task Force on Preventing Death from Opioid Overdose, that is, to get Narcan into the hands of more police and fire personnel, Deborah Pendergast, director of state fire standards and training and emergency medical services, said.
“Increasing the availability of Narcan saves lives,” Pendergast said. “However, current state law prohibits non-licensed personnel from administering the drug. The new licensing rules extend the opportunity for licensure to law enforcement personnel and ultimately get Narcan to people in need more quickly.”
The majority of fire departments already have personnel who qualify for licensure under the old rules, Pendergast said. The focus of the new rules was to add local police to the response effort, she said.
“This has been a collaborative effort between the Governor’s Office, the Department of Safety and local police departments,” Nick Mercuri, chief of state bureau of emergency medical services, said. “Under the new rules, law enforcement personnel must receive training in CPR, first-aid and Narcan administration to be eligible for a license. These three areas of training will best prepare law enforcement personnel to treat an overdose.”
Under the prior rules, law enforcement personnel would have to complete about 100 hours of training to obtain a license, Mercuri said. By narrowing the training to focus only on overdose treatments, the training can be completed in about 8 hours, he said.
“The more focused training best serves the public need by getting Narcan into the hands of police officers quickly,” Richard Crate, president of the New Hampshire association of chiefs of police, said. “Under the prior rules, the training went well beyond what officers typically needed in the field.”