Manchester overdoses

Manchester firefighters treat a 28-year-old man who overdosed on Oct. 16. Statistics show while the number of overdoses in New Hampshire’s two largest cities is trending downward, the number of fatal overdoses in Manchester are up 17 percent compared to a year ago.

MANCHESTER — Statistics show that while the number of overdoses in New Hampshire’s two largest cities is trending downward, the number of fatal overdoses in Manchester are up 17 percent compared to a year ago.

The latest statistics from American Medical Response (AMR) show in May medics reported the most Narcan ever administered by members of the public — prior to the arrival of emergency personnel on scene — to overdose victims in Manchester. The statistics show 81 milligrams of pre-hospital Narcan was administered by laypersons in the Queen City last month, the highest amount since 56 milligrams were distributed in March of 2018, and nearly four times the 20 milligrams given out in April.

“Public Narcan is continuing to rise significantly,” wrote Chris Stawasz, regional director of American Medical Response, in an email.

The statistics show five people died from opioid-related overdoses last month in Manchester, compared with three in May 2018. In Nashua, four people died last month from an opioid-related overdose, compared with two in May 2018.

Last month, AMR reported its numbers show Manchester on pace for 72 overdose deaths by the end of 2019, 20 more than last year and the most since 2016.

“Fatalities are trending higher,” wrote Stawasz.

AMR statistics show there were 63 overdoses total in Manchester last month, 13 more than were reported in April. In Nashua, 23 overdoses were reported in May, one less than reported in March.

So far in 2019, there have been 279 opioid-related overdoses reported in Manchester, and 31 fatal overdoses. In Nashua, there have been 115 opioid-related overdoses, and 13 fatal overdoses.

“The Doorway,” the state’s nine-location “hub-and-spoke program” for substance-use disorders, began operating in January. AMR’s statistics show that in the first three months since The Doorway opened, Nashua started to see a decrease in visits to its Safe Stations program, and the numbers at Manchester’s Safe Station program are starting to show signs of dropping.

In April 2018, the Manchester program averaged 3.77 visits per day. In April 2019, that number rose to an average of 5.73 visits per day, but in May fell to 4.86 visits per day according to AMR.

AMR reports that Manchester’s Safe Station was accessed 141 times in May 2019, and 862 times year-to-date.

According to the statistics, the number of people accessing Manchester’s Safe Station program living outside the Queen City dropped from 64 percent in January 2019 to 57 percent in May.

In April 2018, the Nashua Safe Station program averaged 3.20 visits per day. In April 2019, that number dropped to an average of 2.53 visits per day, and in May dropped to their lowest level — 1.10 visits a day — since December 2016, according to AMR.

Nashua’s Safe Station program was accessed 42 times in May 2019, and 408 times year-to-date.

Angela Lumenello, epidemiologist for the city of Nashua, performed a statistical analysis of the AMR Safe Station data for both Nashua and Manchester.

According to Lumenello’s analysis:

Manchester Safe Station participants were 53% less likely to non-fatally overdose after entering Safe Stations compared to before entry into the program, and 86% less likely to experience a fatal overdose;

Nashua Safe Station participants were 65% less likely to non-fatally overdose after entering Safe Stations compared to before, and 89% less likely to experience a fatal overdose.