Hospital hosts event aimed at drug epidemic 

  • Narcan, an opiate antidote, is given out for free to people who attended a presentation at the Monadnock Community Hospital on Wednesday night. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Misty Squires of Keene talks about her struggle with addiction during a presentation at the Monadnock Community Hospital on Wednesday night. Abby Kessler / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/4/2017 4:31:34 PM

Misty Squires says she was 9 years old when she started doing lines of cocaine at her house with her parents.

By the age of 12 she was openly using every substance with her parents. Squires said to this day her parents actively use. She has eight siblings, and all struggle with addiction.

“You name it, I’ve done it. I’ve experienced it,” Squires said.

She said everyone uses for some reason. She uses it to cover up trauma.

Squires, now living in Keene, said she was molested, abused, and neglected as a child. She was never taught how to process emotions, issues, or anger and so she turned to drugs to numb the feeling out.

There have been 315 drug-related deaths in New Hampshire as of Nov. 17 this year, according to the state’s Attorney General’s office. Opioids accounted for 279 of those deaths this year. Last year, the state saw 485 deaths. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website says opioids caused 33,091 deaths across the country in 2015, a number that has quadrupled since 1999.

“It’s really a big, bad problem for us,” Louis Chatel, president of Awareness and Safety Awareness Training LLC, said about drug use in New Hampshire during a Health and Wellness Seminar Series at Monadnock Community Hospital called Addiction and Our Community: Signs, Symptoms, and Stories of Recovery on Wednesday night. The event was geared toward helping people recognize the signs and symptoms of drug use and how to respond to it.

Chatel said from his years as a police officer, law enforcement isn’t the answer. Instead, he said, things like hiding or getting rid of prescription medication and avoiding certain words like “junkie,” “dirty,” “clean,” and “drunk” can help. Chatel said those terms can make people feel bad about themselves.

“It starts with us,” Chatel said. “Words are real important.”

He said a lot of times it can be helpful to simply listen.

Natalie Neilson, continuum of care facilitator at Monadnock Voices for Prevention, demonstrated how to tell if someone has overdosed and how to respond in that situation.

Neilson said opioids attach to the pain receptors in the brain, which minimizes people’s perception of pain. She said when there are too many opiates in the body it can cause respiratory repression. Generally, she said, you know someone is overdosing if the person is struggling to breath.

“They could be gasping for air, or gurgling, when you hear that odd gurgling, you’ll know,” Neilson said. “It’s very distinctive. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.”

She said once a positive identification has been made there are steps to follow from there, which include making sure the area is safe, calling 911 for help, and then administering Narcan. The nasal spray that looks similar to an allergy medication and is used by placing a small tube into the person’s nose who has overdosed and pressing until a spray comes out.

Squires said she has been revived using Narcan before. She said often times people come to and are aggressive because they are disoriented.

At the end of the Neilson handed out Narcan kits provided by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services for anyone who wanted to take one home.

Squires she didn’t use from 2000 to 2008. She relapsed and used heroin for the first time and has been struggling with addiction ever since.

This spring Squires was checked into the Antrim House, a sobriety home for women. It was her ninth time in rehab. The program in Antrim was the first one she ever successfully completed.

“I graduated and I did good,” Squires said.

She said she was clean for awhile. Then she lost custody of her 12-year-old daughter. That triggered a month and a half long relapse.

Squires went back to rehab in Antrim. She completed the program again. This time she was clean for 87 days before she relapsed in late November for two days. The latest time she relapsed, she reached out to her recovery coach. She admitted that she had made a mistake and asked for help. Squires said she’s proud of that.

It’s progress.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or

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