Addiction

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

When recovering from an opioid addiction, one important step is finding safe, drug-free housing.

There are a lot of places in New Hampshire that call themselves 'sober living.' But with no state oversight there’s no real way to check how sober these houses actually are.

jenn2d2 via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/E4SDFW

On today's show:

Jack Rodolico

Hannah Berkowitz is 20 years old and when she was a senior in high school her life flew off the rails. 

She was abusing drugs. She was suicidal. Berkowitz moved into a therapeutic boarding school to get sober. But she could only stay sober while she was on campus during the week.

NH's Opioid Crisis at a Crossroad

Apr 5, 2017

Few states have been as hard hit by the opioid epidemic as New Hampshire, where more than 1,600 Granite Staters have died of drug overdose since 2012. After several years battling the epidemic, some on the front lines of addiction are pointing to hopeful signs, even while urging vigilance and more investment in treatment and prevention. We take a look at what's working, what's not, and why some are raising alarms about an old scourge: alcohol. 


Flickr

New Hampshire's child protection agency is responding to the state's drug crisis with new policies requiring greater intervention when infants and toddlers are at risk.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu told the state’s Commission on Alcohol and Drugs Friday that workforce development and cutting regulation are key in addressing New Hampshire’s opioid crisis.

This is the first time Sununu has attended one of these meetings since taking office.

istock photo

The New Hampshire Insurance Department released the findings of a study Thursday that takes a look at how insurance companies are handling drug and alcohol abuse treatment claims.

The study, which examines the insurers Cigna, Anthem, and Harvard Pilgrim, was intended, in part, to determine if they were complying with federal parity law. In other words, do the companies provide comparable coverage for mental health, substance use disorders, and medical and surgical care?

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Michael Treadwell sat at the back of a courtroom.  In a windbreaker and khaki pants, he leaned over his work boots, elbows on his knees. At first, I thought he was chewing gum – a bold choice in a courtroom.  When we began to talk, I discovered it wasn't gum Michael was chewing.  It was his own gums. Michael doesn't have any teeth.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Gov. Chris Sununu helped to announce a new partnership on Wednesday aimed at reducing the stigma of addiction.   

Speak Up New Hampshire is the latest campaign from the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Hampshire. Joined by the Bureau for Drug and Alcohol Services, the Governor’s Commission, and various addiction treatment and prevention organizations, the Partnership is now concentrating on reducing the stigma of addiction in the Granite State.

Ajay Suresh / flickr/cc

Evidence is growing that certain medicines can ease cravings for drugs and alcohol and improve people's lives. And the medical community, backed by substantial federal funding, is promoting these drugs, calling them life-savers in many cases. But there are skeptics: Some who feel this approach merely replaces one addiction for another and others who fear this is just another profit-making venture of so-called "big pharma."


Jack Rodolico

Catholic Medical Center in Manchester is your typical general hospital: they deliver babies, set broken bones, perform heart surgery. And it might be as good a place as any to witness how the opioid epidemic is transforming healthcare in New Hampshire.

A bill in the New Hampshire legislature could make it legal to hospitalize someone against their will because of a drug addiction. The bill would amend the state law that allows authorities to involuntarily commit people suffering from a serious mental illness who pose a threat to themselves.

Republic Senator Jeb Bradley says he proposed the bill after he spoke with the family of someone who died of an overdose.

Michael Brindley

  Pregnant women battling substance abuse addiction in New Hampshire have a new place for treatment.

Hope on Haven Hill opens its doors in Rochester on Thursday. The residential program will provide treatment for up to eight pregnant women in recovery as they prepare for birth.

And new mothers will be able to continue living at the home for up to a year with their babies as their treatment continues postpartum.

Manchester Fire Department

Back in May, Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan extended an open invitation to anyone struggling with an addiction: If someone walked into any of the city's 10 fire stations and asked for help, they would get it.

Since then, the number of people who've taken the city up on that offer has far exceeded the chief's expectations.

New Hampshire is joining 40 other states in a lawsuit against the maker of Suboxone, a drug widely promoted to help opioid addicts.

JonJon2k8 via Flickr Creative Commons

 

 U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan are going to be highlighting a 24-hour addiction crisis hotline in New Hampshire.

The Tuesday event will be held at 1 p.m. in Nashua.

The 24-hour service is a statewide crisis hotline that connects people affected by substance abuse with recovery assistance.

Shaheen and Hassan, both Democrats, will make remarks on the opioid epidemic.

Hassan is seeking the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Kelly Ayotte.

Roadsidepictures via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/8bhv7m

A few years ago, one of America's most beloved snack cakes was in danger of disappearing forever - until investors swooped in and saved the day. What started out as a rescue mission quickly evolved into a business strategy, and resulted in substantial changes to the brand. Today, preserving the mythical, magical Twinkie.

Plus, awareness of mental health issues is on the rise, but it's not limited to people. We'll speak with an expert working with animals to resolve their mental health issues and better understand the inner lives of creatures who don't have the words to express it.

 

An organization that runs recovery centers for people dealing with substance abuse is expanding its services across New Hampshire.

Hope for NH Recovery is opening a new community center in Derry on Friday. Another one is opening Monday, July 18, in Claremont, and a third is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 2, in Berlin.

The public is welcome to attend all of these openings. Centers have opened in Concord, Manchester and Newport.

C. Zars / NHPR

The medication “Vivitrol” is gaining traction as a tool in the fight against drug addiction. It’s a once-a-month injection that was approved as a treatment for opioid and alcohol users in 2010. A psychiatric hospital in Hampstead now prescribes the medication, and patients seem to show signs of improvement.

What it Takes to Overcome Addiction in N.H.

Jun 6, 2016
BFD Lt / flickr/cc

We kick off the Morning Edition series, Hope on the Front Lines, examining the many efforts around the state helping people overcome addiction.  We'll look at the array of approaches available in the state including new medicines that curb drug cravings as well as others that revive overdose victims.  Recovery coaches, counselors and doctors are also involved on the the long road to full recovery. 


Six police departments in New Hampshire and Maine plan to open their police stations to drug addicts seeking treatment.

Under the Community Access to Recovery program, those suffering from drug addiction may come to the police departments and be referred to treatment.

Police departments in Portsmouth, Dover and Newmarket, New Hampshire, and Eliot, York and Kittery, Maine, are participating.

They plan to announce the program on Wednesday.

Charles Willams / Flickr/CC

Heroin pills. That’s how Andrew Kolodny describes oxycodone, one of the most widely prescribed – and abused – narcotic painkillers in the U.S. 

Kolodny is executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing and senior scientist at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He joined The Exchange this week to discuss the opioid crisis – its origins and how states, including New Hampshire, are trying to overcome it.

Prescribing Opioids During an Addiction Epidemic

Apr 14, 2016
Charles Williams / Flickr/CC

State lawmakers, doctors, and others in the medical profession have been hammering out new guidelines for prescribing these drugs to tackle the issue of over-use and alleviate the addiction crisis. We'll get the latest on this discussion and also find out how New Hampshire's approach compares with other states.

New Hampshire Senate
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

New Hampshire child protection officials would have more power to intervene when a parent is abusing drugs or a child is born drug dependent under a bill adopted by the state’s senate. The bill passed unanimously but not without debate.

The bill defines opioid abuse or dependence by a parent as neglect under New Hampshire's Child Protection Act. Right now that law doesn't identify specific conduct by parents as being sufficient to trigger neglect proceedings.

Addressing N.H.'s Addiction Counselor Shortage

Mar 1, 2016
Phoenix House Academy of Dublin / Flickr/CC

As overdose deaths skyrocket,  there's been a statewide call for more access to drug treatment, and more funding for it.  But treatment centers are scrambling to find and keep enough trained staff to meet the demand.  Chronic issues, such as low pay and bureaucracy add to the burden of helping a patient through recovery.

Jack Rodolico

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is trying to figure out if the state's largest insurance companies are covering opioid treatment the way the law requires.

The preliminary findings of the department's ongoing investigation are inconclusive.

File Photo

The 72-acre, sprawling campus of Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center - with about a dozen buildings overlooking lakes and mountains - has always been used as a place to treat people with brain injuries or developmental disabilities. But there has always been controversy too.

    

In 1992 the FBI raided the site when they suspected the original owners of fraud. And then last year, after the Disability Rights Center put out a scathing report on Lakeview’s practices, the state shut it down. The place was notorious for poor care. But Eric Spofford hopes to change all that.

State Drug Czar Will Resign

Jan 15, 2016
Josh Rogers/NHPR

Jack Wozmak says with the legislature presently focused on the opioid crisis, now is a good time for him to step down as the state's so-called "drug czar." (Click here to read his resignation letter.) 

This Is How Heroin Hijacks Your Brain

Jan 11, 2016
Greta Rybus for NPR

When Jack O'Connor was 19, he was so desperate to beat his addictions to alcohol and opioids that he took a really rash step. He joined the Marines.

"This will fix me," O'Connor thought as he went to boot camp. "It better fix me or I'm screwed."

After 13 weeks of sobriety and exercise and discipline, O'Connor completed basic training, but he started using again immediately.

"Same thing," he says. "Percocet, like, off the street. Pills."

Brian Wallstin/NHPR

For years, Chris Clough prescribed more pain medication than almost anyone else in New Hampshire.

Along the way, state regulators say, he broke nearly every rule in the book.

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