Doughnut shop savior

Other businesses should seriously consider following the lead of a compassionate employee of the Dunkin’ Donuts at 175 Broad St. in New London, who saved a life because she had the foresight to have Narcan available and the courage to use it when needed.

Day Staff Writer Lindsay Boyle described the life-saving act by Nicholle Maynard, assistant manager of the restaurant, in a Nov. 12 story. The Dunkin’ Donuts employee became concerned when someone spent a long time in the restroom.

She had reasons to be suspicious. In March 2016, a 23-year-old heroin addict died after shooting up in the men’s restroom. Police told Boyle the emergency crews have responded to a half-dozen suspected overdoses there in the past few years.

Because Maynard had bothered to care, the doughnut shop had Narcan, a drug that can revive an overdosing user who is near death. Maynard had attended an overdose awareness event and picked up a Narcan kit. On Friday, Nov. 3, Maynard used the Narcan on hand to revive the 52-year-old woman she found passed out in the restroom, quite likely saving her life.

Opioid overdoses are a national crisis. Given current trends, Connecticut can expect to surpass 1,000 overdose deaths this year. About 64,000 people died of drug overdoses nationally in 2016.

It is hardly surprising that users would use the restrooms at a busy shop in an urban center as a safe haven to administer their fix. But anyone who thinks this particular restaurant is an outlier is mistaken.

This is a problem, too, for libraries and other public establishments with a bustle of activity into which a user can blend in and with public restrooms where they can temporarily lock themselves away. While the situation may be more acute in cities, facilities in suburban settings are not immune.

Whether it would be better to provide safe havens for users to shoot up, and where efforts could be made to coax them toward recovery, is a discussion society needs to engage. As things stand now, addicts will seek to administer their fix where they can and having Narcan to rescue them takes meritorious planning.

Maynard’s preparations and her actions saved a sick person. It is up to the individual to seek the help necessary to begin the difficult road to recovery, a path that would not exist had the woman died on a restroom floor.

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.

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