New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster tells lawmakers that overdose deaths will top 400 this year, more than double the deaths in 2013.
Foster addressed a legislative task force Tuesday as the state looks to rein in a growing abuse epidemic. Three hundred people have already died from drug overdoses, most from heroin and the powerful painkiller fentanyl. In 2013, there were 192 overdose deaths.
Foster calls the drug epidemic the state's "greatest law enforcement problem" and its most pressing public health crisis. He is asking for a new prosecutor's position to focus on drug cases.
Also Tuesday, the task force considered a grant program to provide state money to counties to establish or continue drug courts. The initial cost is estimated at about $3.1 million for the 2016-17 budget.