State House Continues to Tackle Bills Aimed at N.H.'s Drug Crisis

Mar 21, 2016

State lawmakers are set to tackle a pile of bills this week, many of which address New Hampshire's drug crisis.  The bills include proposals to legalize needle exchanges and the creation of a statewide drug court program. 

On Tuesday the Senate Finance Committee will take up this session’s most significant legislation: whether to reauthorize the state’s expanded Medicaid program.

Advocates say renewing the program is one of the most important tools the state has to provide people with substance abuse treatment. The program is set to expire this December. 

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, a House committee will hold a public hearing on whether to put state dollars towards existing and future drug court programs across the state – $3 million to be exact.

The full House will meet on Wednesday - where a lengthy debate is expected around the question of needle exchange programs. Currently New Hampshire is the only New England state without one, which allows users to turn in their dirty needles for clean ones free of charge.

And on Thursday the Senate will take up a slate of bills including one that would create a grant program to pay for drug prevention in schools, and another that would provide additional housing for those battling addiction.