Less than a week after the legislative session opened, a trio of bills meant to address the state’s heroin crisis is heading for vote before the state Senate this Thursday.
The bills were vetted as part of a special task force that convened at the end of last year to focus specifically on issues related to the state's heroin and opioid crisis.
After meeting for several weeks and hearing testimony from more than 70 people, the task force ultimately recommended fast-tracking these three proposals for the speediest review during the legislative session and recommended several others for "early" consideration.
One of the bills requires public schools to teach drug and alcohol education. Another sets up a commission to study the use of the overdose reversal drug Narcan. A third bill addresses several issues, such as tightening penalties for illegal fentanyl use and setting up more uniform insurance standards for substance abuse treatment.
Governor Maggie Hassan threw her support behind these and other proposals recommended by a special drug task force. Speaking to lawmakers Tuesday morning, Hassan urged bipartisan cooperation moving forward.
“This is an all hands on deck moment for our state,” Hassan said. “And the people of New Hampshire are counting on their elected officials to follow the example that they set for us every day, by working together, solving problems and improving their communities.”
Hassan also said the state's Medicaid expansion, which is up for renewal this year, plays a crucial role in tackling drug misuse.
Supporters of the bills hope to send them to the governor’s desk by the end of the month.