Addiction

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.

Fashioned after the program in Manchester, the model is designed to help connect addicts with available treatment services.

The Safe Stations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Providence will launch its program Jan. 2.

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.

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.

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