House Budget Nixes Proposed Funding Hike For Substance Abuse

Apr 1, 2015

Hundreds of people came to advocate at the State House on Wednesday for more funding for substance abuse treatment programs be put back in the House budget.
Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The House version of the $11.2 billion budget passed along party lines with reductions to the Governor's proposed funding for social services still left on the books. 

Advocates for the developmental disabled filled the capitol, but those in favor of more funding for substance abuse treatment drew out the largest crowd.

A protester lies right outside the State House to represent one of the 300 lives lost to substance abuse last year.
Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Three-hundred – that is the number of lives that were lost in New Hampshire last year from drug-related deaths, and that is the same number of people who came to the State House on Wednesday to advocate for more funding.

Specifically for $6 million dollars more that was slashed from the Governor’s proposal by House budget writers.

Tim Rourke, who sat on the Governor’s task force on drug and alcohol abuse, says this funding is needed to save lives.

“We have some of the highest rates per capita of addiction in the United States and we are second lowest to access to treatment services, as a direct result of that we lost over three-hundred New Hampshire citizens to drug overdoses most of which could have been prevented if treatments were made available,” Rourke said. 

Cindy and Brian Mulcahy lost their 27-year-old son Tom to an overdose four months ago.
Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Cindy Mulcahy lost her 27-year-old son Tom to an overdose just four months ago. 

“The most important thing is that we wanted to put a face to that 300 number, that this is a real person, and a wonderful, wonderful person, a really good, a really good kid and he didn't want to die -- he didn't deserve to die,” Mulcahy said as she teared up. 

Supporters say they are going to lobby to the Senate for more funding.