Addiction

N.H. Senate Rejects Tapping Rainy Day Fund for Drug Crisis

Feb 18, 2018
NHPR File Photo

  New Hampshire won't be tapping into its Rainy Day Fund to fight the opioid crisis.

The state Senate on Thursday voted down legislation that would have allowed the governor or Legislature to declare a public health emergency and tap into 10 percent of the state's Rainy Day Fund.

The fund currently stands at $100 million.

Democrats argued that the bill made sense given the scope of the problem — the state ranks third in overdose deaths.

AP

Congresswoman Annie Kuster says $6 billion in a new budget deal to fight the opioid epidemic is a good start. But she says a longer-term commitment is still missing - and she wants to ensure the funding formula treats smaller states fairly.

 

"It’s certainly more than is in the pipeline right now,” she says. “I think everyone agrees it’s critical that we get funding out on the front line to expand access to treatment and help people in their long-term recovery. We’ve got to get over the hump and save lives and get people back to work.”

NHPR Photo

 

New Hampshire’s "drug czar" says the recent collapse of Manchester’s Safe Station treatment provider has revealed gaps in the state's care.

Ellen Grimm/NHPR

New Hampshire "drug czar" David Mara discusses the state's efforts to address the on-going addiction crisis.  Is the Granite state spending enough to prevent and treat addiction?  What's the right balance between law enforcement and treatment?  And is there adequate oversight of the state's drug treatment infrastructure? We also look at lessons learned from the closure of Serenity Place, Manchester's addiction treatment center associated with the Safe Station program. 

Also, we hear from NHPR's Paige Sutherland on her extensive reporting on the opioid crisis in New Hampshire. 


N.H. Reps: Trump Must Do More for Opioid Epidemic

Jan 31, 2018
Getty

  New Hampshire's Democratic congressional delegation reacting to President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech appreciate his efforts to take on the opioid epidemic, but say he hasn't done enough to get funding.

Rep. Annie Kuster says declaring the opioid epidemic a national health emergency was the right thing for Trump to do, but without the funding, it's a meaningless gesture. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says he must finally begin fulfilling his promise to deliver treatment resources.

FILE

Nashua will soon have its first syringe exchange program for injection drug users.

AP

The obituary, so stark and visceral, captured the public’s attention.

It was for 24-year-old Molly Alice Parks. She died in 2015 of a heroin overdose in the bathroom of her Manchester workplace.

The obit’s final line: “If you have any loved ones who are fighting addiction, Molly’s family asks that you do everything possible to be supportive, and guide them to rehabilitation before it is too late.”

But what if you don’t? What if you’re lucky enough not to have a loved one battling this addiction?

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Serenity Place, the addiction treatment center tied to Manchester's Safe Station program, will be shutting its doors after more than four decades of operation.

The nonprofit has severe financial problems and was court-ordered Tuesday to begin the liquidation process next month.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A crucial treatment provider in the state’s effort to combat the opioid crisis collapsed, with little warning, last month.

But some say this incident has exposed gaps in the state’s ability to oversee a critical system of care.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows that New Hampshire had one of the highest drug overdose death rates in the country last year.

A new report from UNH's Carsey School of Public Policy is sounding alarm over the growing number of New Hampshire infants born dependent on opioids.

FILE

A new audit by the state shows New Hampshire’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program isn’t performing well.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

New Hampshire Democrats are backing a bill that would allow money from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to be used to combat the opioid crisis.

The “RESCUE Act” would permit the governor or the state legislature to declare a public health emergency, triggering the release of 10 percent of the Rainy Day Fund, which currently totals around $100 million.

Senate Democrats say the money is needed to address the opioid crisis, and make up for a lack of funding from Washington.  

The Nashua Board of Aldermen Tuesday night approved funding for a citywide recovery coach for those battling drug addiction. But it wasn’t without a lengthy debate.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

  The Safe Station program launched by the Manchester Fire Department to help combat opioid addiction has inspired a similar program in Providence, R.I.

The Associated Press reports that Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza announced a plan Monday to open 12 stations at fire houses around his city.

PAIGE SUTHERLAND/NHPR

Nashua could soon lose 11 recovery beds for people battling drug addiction. That’s if the nonprofit that runs the beds doesn’t get the money needed to keep them open.

A new, national study has alarming predictions for New Hampshire. The report draws a strong connection between substance abuse and suicide, and says the Granite State will have among the country's highest suicide risks in the upcoming decade.  We get more details, also local reaction to this report, and ideas for mitigating this possibility.


Six percent of babies born in New Hampshire have been exposed to opioids.

And the actual number may be higher at this point.

“We are one of the hardest hit areas,” says Dr. Alison Holmes, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth.

Mark Colomb; Wikimedia Commons

A recent anonymous $3 million donation to help pregnant women and their babies fight addiction highlights the challenges, and costs, of caring for this population. Mothers and their newborns face specific hurdles when it comes to addiction, and hospitals and care centers have struggled to adapt to meet those needs.  


AP

A week of New Hampshire headlines included yet another big one about the opioid epidemic. 

Elected leaders continue to call attention to the opioid, heroin, and fentanyl epidemic, which President Trump officially labeled a national public health emergency. He singled out Manchester's "Safe Station" program, and Fire Chief Dan Goonan, in his speech.

Courtesy of Keene State College

New Hampshire police chiefs overwhelmingly cite drug abuse as the most serious problem facing their communities, according to a new survey from Keene State College.

“Police chiefs are confronting these problems every day,” said Keene State Professor Angela Barlow, who directed the survey. “And they’re having very little success at reducing the opioid crisis and addiction issues within their communities.”

The survey went out to all full-time police chiefs in New Hampshire last year. About half, including those from the largest cities, responded, Barlow said.

Courtesy Jennifer Couzins

Almost two years ago, a woman called the NHPR newsroom to share the kind of story we, unfortunately, were all too familiar with. It was the story of her husband, Daniel Couzins, who had recently died of a fentanyl overdose at the age of 31.

Sara Plourde

We talk to NHPR reporter Paige Sutherland about two topics in her series, "Alternatives - N.H. Gets Creative to Curb Ongoing Opioid Crisis": an acupuncture detoxification treatment and involuntary commitment. 


Todd Bookman/NHPR

The message from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to expecting and new mothers struggling with addiction is simple: help is available, and more is coming.

The Foundation on Tuesday announced a new three-year $3 million grant program, courtesy of an anonymous donor, that will help fund both residential and outpatient programs in the state that support mothers and their babies affected by substance misuse.

New Hampshire officials are welcoming an expansion to a substance use disorder treatment center in the northern part of the state.

The Friendship House facility in Bethlehem provides housing, treatment and support services for people suffering from an addiction. Federal, state and local officials are gathering at the site Friday.

There also are Friendship House outpatient satellite sites in Berlin, Colebrook, North Conway, Tamworth and Woodsville.

New Hampshire has one of the highest drug overdose rates nationally.

Reuters

While she might not agree with the President’s description of New Hampshire as a “drug-infested den” — as far as Kriss Blevens is concerned, his sentiment is spot-on.

More than five decades after establishing the first state lottery, New Hampshire is for the first time dedicating a portion of lottery profits toward treatment for gambling addiction.

theaterofwar.com

The Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College is planning a series of performances that use theater to get at issues around drug and alcohol addiction. Redfern has received $25,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts, which will be used - in part - toward the effort.

Flickr

Despite mounting public awareness, New Hampshire, like other states, struggles to contain its opioid epidemic. Part of the problem is a lack of real-time information about who’s using opioids, especially fentanyl, and how government policies can help them stop.

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.

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