New Hampshire first responders

New Hampshire Bill Would Pair Addiction Counselors With Emergency Responders

When one considers the current drug abuse and addiction epidemic that is wreaking havoc across our nation, it becomes clear that many different things have to occur in order to bring about a desired change.  Obviously effective prevention strategies must be employed to help individuals understand the extensive dangers of drug use and what can be done to avoid them.  Effective intervention strategies can help individuals who have fallen into drug use, abuse or addiction get the help they need to turn their life around.  And finally, opioid overdose reversal medications can be used to help save someone’s life.  But then, a saved life is only valuable if it remains saved, which means that an overdose victim should then receive the help they need in order to prevent an overdose from ever occurring again in the future.  This is exactly what a new bill in New Hampshire is seeking to achieve.

Pairing Addiction Counselors With Emergency Responders

In many cases, an individual who is suffering from drug abuse or addiction problems is aware of the fact that drugs are adversely affecting their life.  Some of these individuals may even know that they need addiction treatment and may even desire addiction treatment, but are scared about what this may mean for them–a long, difficult and often painful road to recovery.  In many cases, a drug abuser or addict will choose to continue using these substances rather than suffering through the recovery process.  This usually means that they just need more information, more support and more encouragement from trusted individuals.

A professional addiction counselor can help a drug abuser or addict understand what drug substances are, and why they are effectively keeping them trapped.  They can explain the recovery process in a way that the individual understands what is occurring, and is willing to push forward because of the rewards they will receive for doing so.  However, there is no doubt that there are certain times when a drug counselor will be most effective in steering an individual in the direction of treatment.  When they have just been brought back from a drug overdose can be a prime moment, as the individual may be sufficiently scared by the reality of what drug use can cost them that they are willing to consider recovery.

Benefits of the Pilot Program

Several fire chiefs in New Hampshire came together recently to ask a legislative task force to fund a pilot program that would pair professional drug counselors with local fire departments in order to better help direct overdose victims to appropriate treatment services.  The goal of the program is to help these individuals break the cycle of addiction, instead of being saved from overdose only to relapse back into drug abuse and addiction again in the immediate future.  Manchester Fire Chief James Burkush indicated that there is a very small window of opportunity to help an individual who has just been treated with Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal drug that many emergency responders now carry.  During that brief time when an individual recognizes that they narrowly escaped death, they are usually willing and interested in receiving help.  However, once the initial shock wears off and withdrawal symptoms set in, the individual may simply return to drug use without giving any thought to the high possibility of experiencing another, possibly fatal, overdose in the near future.  By having a professional drug counselor on hand immediately, an intervention can be performed, and the individual given the opportunity to take back control of their life and future.


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