Narcan has been used too many times

We need to find a new solution for the drug crisis

The Keene Sentinel recently reported in September that the Keene Fire Department administered the overdose reversal drug Narcan 12 times as opposed to previous months, such as August, where it was used four times. In the article, Keene Fire Chief Mark F. Howard expressed his concerns with how much Narcan was being administered. Though the Keene Fire Department administered Narcan to 12 people, The Sentinel also reported that the drug itself was administered 32 times among those people, meaning the doses for most people were high.

Photo illustration by sebastien mehegan / multimedia director

Photo illustration by sebastien mehegan / multimedia director

We at The Equinox feel that many addicts who are repeatedly being administered Narcan are building resistance and we feel that this is turning into a huge problem. We commend the Keene Fire Department for helping save many addicts with this opioid antagonist. In this day and age, it’s becoming more and more common that we are seeing friends, family members or someone else we know struggle with addiction. Narcan could potentially save the life of a sibling, a cousin, a child, an uncle, a best friend- the list goes on and on.

We also feel that the City of Keene itself is working hard to combat the heroin problem in Keene by bringing those who overdose to the Cheshire County Drug Court, where the addict has to take educational programs, rather than getting sent to prison, where they could possibly be smuggled in drugs or placed on house arrest where they could have others bring them drugs. Keene also has Narcotic Anonymous (NA) meetings once a week and various treatment facilities throughout the city, such as the Phoenix House Comprehensive Addiction Treatment Services and Keene Serenity Center to name a few. However, we feel that often times, recovery programs and treatments can be extremely expensive.

According to, the Phoenix House costs $9,000 per person for a 30 day stay. The Phoenix House uses Suboxone, which is less addictive than other forms of narcotic resistants, such as Methadone, because it is a partial opioid antagonist, meaning the effects are milder, according to American Addiction Centers. At the Phoenix House, they also offer residential treatment, 12 step programs and opportunities to attend NA meetings. Nine thousand dollars is a lot of money for many addicts who don’t have insurance or have very low insurance. Heroin changes people, making it difficult for many to earn enough money to cover expensive programs. Aside from that, the addict has to be ready to make the change themselves.

We feel that Narcan is a post-problem solution and the treatments offered for drug addicts need to go deeper. By administering Narcan, we give addicts a second chance at life, but if they rely on being revived by Narcan, that’s not giving them a chance to break the cycle. Once someone becomes addicted to a substance, they are always going to be addicts- they will just become recovering addicts. We need to address this drug problem as a whole by offering less expensive programs for recovery and changing the stigma behind heroin. We are becoming desensitized to these hard drugs and people overdosing seems like it’s becoming the new normal. Our society as a whole needs to make a shift so that Narcan uses aren’t spiking and the number of overdoses begins to decrease.

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