Brian Wallstin

Digital Journalist

Brian has more than 20 years of experience in journalism.  He has done in-depth investigative reporting for a variety of publications, including The Houston Press where he was a staff writer for more than eight years.  As Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri, he taught and mentored undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Journalism.  He has held several editorial positions, including four and a half years as City Editor for  the Columbia Missourian, and has been a contributor to NHPR.org, notably during the 2012 elections.    Brian has a B.J. from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.  

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States would receive four dollars in federal money for every dollar they invest in substance abuse prevention and treatment under a plan announced today by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The plan, outlined in a conference call with reporters, would direct $10 billion in new federal funds to drug and alcohol addiction programs over 10 years.

If you have any lingering doubt that Super PACs will play an outsized role in the New Hampshire primary, consider this: More than three quarters of the television advertising aimed at first-in-the-nation primary voters this year has been reserved not by candidates, but by independent political groups.

Kate Harper

Recent polls have Hillary Clinton trailing Bernie Sanders in the Granite State Democratic presidential primary, but that hasn’t stopped New Hampshire Democrats from joining forces to raise money with the former Secretary of State.

Be.Futureproof / https://flic.kr/p/4xcHp9

A series of physician-training sessions aimed at reducing the amount of opioids prescribed to patients who may go on to become addicted will kick off in Bedford in November.

Southeastern New Hampshire Services in Dover offers inpatient substance abuse treatment along the same stretch of County Farm Road as a nursing home and a day care center.

www.drug-alcohol.com

  When the Department of Corrections begins offering naltrexone to male inmates sometime this fall, it will put New Hampshire among the more than 20 states that use the drug to treat incarcerated addicts.

New Hampshire, however, will launch the program using the oral version of naltrexone, which studies show faces more barriers to success than the extended-release injections used in other prisons and jails across the country.

Allegra

As hosts of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, Granite Staters often claim a reputation for political sophistication and civic engagement. But a new report finds that relatively few residents are politically involved and, when Election Day rolls around, they are more likely to accept the status quo and stay home rather than cast a ballot.  

Josh Rogers/NHPR

Sen. Andy Sanborn has called for New Hampshire's so-called "drug czar" to resign, two days before a legislative committee will decide whether to extend the official's contract.

The number of health insurers in New Hampshire shrank by one this morning with the news that the state’s two largest players, Anthem and Cigna, have agreed to merge in a deal worth more than $48 billion.

When it comes to 2016 presidential campaign spending in New Hampshire, there’s one clear winner so far: The state Democratic Party. 

Roughly 30 percent of total candidate spending in New Hampshire so far this year has gone to the state party, and it came as a single, $100,000 expense: Hillary Clinton’s purchase of the party’s so-called "voter file." 

Via the NH Rebellion on Facebook

As they make their way around the Granite State, the presidential contenders being met by potential voters frustrated with the political influence of wealthy donors.

NHPR’s digital reporter Brian Wallstin has been reporting on the issue of money in politics and where the candidates stand, and he’s here to talk about what he’s learned.

WMUR, New Hampshire's largest TV station, reversed itself last week and decided to sell ads to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign.

  Here are five things we can tell you about the Rubio ad buy, based on the orders uploaded to WMUR’s public FCC file.

1. The first ad will air during the noon hour on December 1, during a broadcast of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” and the last during the noon hour on Primary Day, presumably February 9, 2016 - during a broadcast of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

At campaign events, house parties and town hall meetings across the state, presidential contenders are being met by potential voters who want to know what they plan to do about the role of money in politics.

And the candidates aren’t shying away from the question.

Democrats have taken aim at Citizens United, the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that struck down limits on independent expenditures by corporations and unions.

Beverly via Flickr CC

What are the limits on presidential campaign funding? Can I really spend whatever I want to help my candidate get elected?

Courtesy Emma Stein

In December 1999, six weeks before the 2000 New Hampshire primary, John Rauh watched as Republican Sen. John McCain and Democrat Bill Bradley met in Claremont to denounce the role of money in politics.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, expected to face a tough re-election battle next year, has received a $500,000 donation from a Republican entrepreneur who wants his party to confront climate change.

Jennifer Cochran / Flickr/Creative Commons

Amherst Public Works Director Bruce Berry was a happy man last spring when Gov. Maggie Hassan signed the first increase to the state’s gas tax in more than 20 years.

The legislation promised to double the money the state doles out to repair municipally owned bridges, from $6.8 million a year to $13.6 million. At the time, Amherst had three bridges “red-listed” as structurally deficient, including one on Manchester Road that had been closed for 18 months.

Punching Judy via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/3WYLgF

People who use heroin or other opioids will now be able to obtain a prescription for an emergency treatment that can reverse the effects of an overdose.

Nalaxone was previously only available to police officers and emergency medical providers trained in its use. On Tuesday, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill into law that removes Nalaxone – which is sold under the trade name Narcan - from the state’s list of controlled substances, making it available to drug users and the friends and family of people with a history of opioid abuse. 

Dimitris Kalogeropoylos via Flickr CC

A powerful synthetic opioid manufactured in illicit labs was the main driver of the record 325 drug-related deaths in New Hampshire last year.

Fentanyl is used to manage severe chronic and post-surgical pain. As a pharmaceutical, prescribed in lozenges or transdermal patches, it is 10 to 50 times more potent than morphine.

But, increasingly, a powdered form of the drug that is 200 to 2,000 times more potent is being mixed with heroin or passed off as heroin to unwitting users.

Isaias via Flickr CC

In 2000, a committee of researchers compiled nearly a century of knowledge on how children develop from birth to age five. The findings, published in a 600-page book titled From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development, covered everything from the long-standing debate over “nature vs. nurture” to the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience.

Getty Images

 

The rate of young adults in New Hampshire with substance-abuse problems is the highest in the country, even as the Granite State is the worst at providing treatment when they need it.

Research suggests that 7.4 percent of 18-to-25-year-olds in the Granite State abuse or are dependent on illicit drugs, more than in any other state.

At the same time, no state spends less on substance-abuse programs, with nearly nine percent of young adults who seek out addiction treatment forced to wait for it.

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A panel that included the step-mother of a woman who died of a heroin overdose told a House committee Thursday that proposed cuts in substance-abuse programs will exacerbate the state’s alarming rise in drug-related deaths.

“Last year, it was 321,” said Tym Rourke, chair of the Governor’s Commission on Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. “Next year it could be 600 and the year after that, 800.”

File photos / NHPR

Update: The Republican-led House has rejected a short-term funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, increasing the likelihood of partial shutdown of U.S. anti-terror operations at midnight.

In a statement, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen urged House Speaker John Boehner to call a vote on a Senate bill that passed earlier today. "We cannot afford the consequences of an agency shutdown,” Shaheen said.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Is Gov. Maggie Hassan preparing to take on U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte in 2016? Hassan hasn’t said yet, but two national political groups that back Republicans seem convinced she is.

Crossroads GPS, a conservative non-profit founded by GOP operative and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, released a radio ad Thursday attacking Hassan’s proposed budget. The 60-second spot comes a day after the National Republican Senatorial Committee launched a web ad that ridicules Hassan’s proposal to hire a chief operating officer.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The owner of the state’s largest chain of pain clinics would be forced to forfeit his financial interest in the practice if legislation pending in the House becomes law.

House Bill 517 would require physicians who lose their licenses to practice to cut their ownership ties to any health-care facilities.

The lead sponsor, Republican Rep. Don Leeman of Rochester, said the bill is aimed at one of the state’s most visible medical practices: Dr. O’Connell’s Pain Care Centers, Inc.

Brian Wallstin for NHPR

Lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday on a House bill to bring keno to New Hampshire bars and restaurants. Sponsors say the electronic game could raise some $8.5 million annually for education, while Gov. Maggie Hassan’s two-year budget projects $26 million in keno revenue.

NHPR’s digital journalist Brian Wallstin reported on keno legislation a year ago that died in the Senate, and he joins us now to give us an update on this year’s proposal.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

Lawmakers took testimony Tuesday on a senate bill to change workers compensation payments. It's an issue that's come up before.

New Hampshire has high workers comp costs, twice the national average according to the Insurance Department, and making the system less expensive is a priority for lawmakers and the Governor.

Gov. Maggie Hassan issued the following the statement Sunday evening:

"As we continue our response to last week’s winter storm and another one approaches, state emergency management officials are working with utilities and local communities to make preparations and take every precaution to support local communities. The Emergency Operations Center will open tomorrow morning at eight a.m., and closely monitor the storm and provide updates as needed. I encourage all Granite Staters to plan ahead for the morning commute, to follow all traffic and safety alerts, and to drive safely.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Today, Governor Maggie Hassan begins her second term facing a far different political landscape than she faced two years ago. Scroll down for real-time updates from the Statehouse featuring news, tweets from NHPR reporters and photos by Allegra Boverman. Click through additional photos in the gallery above.

Visit the official inaugural committee website here. 

StopnLook via Flickr CC

A commission studying ways to reduce workers compensation costs in New Hampshire released its final report Friday, but did not go so far as to recommend a cap how much health providers can charge for the care of injured workers.

Instead, in the 38-page report, a majority of commission members recommends the panel continue its work for another year.

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