drug abuse

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.

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.

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.

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.

Courtesy of "Recovery House Keene"

Neighbors of a proposed new residential rehab center in Keene are organizing to fight the project. They’re concerned it will create public safety issues and lead to crowding in the neighborhood, said attorney Joseph Hoppock, who’s representing the group.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire has invested millions of dollars into curbing its opioid epidemic. But progress has been slow. That’s pushed some state policymakers and others to get creative.

This week, in a three-part series called “Alternatives,” NHPR’s Paige Sutherland reports on some less traditional approaches.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made a quick trip to New Hampshire Thursday afternoon to announce $200 million in federal grants targeting community health centers, to increase access to mental health and opioid abuse services.

The city of Keene will hold a public forum on drug and alcohol abuse Tuesday, stemming from a July Facebook post shared widely among city residents. The post included a photo of a man slumped over on a park bench downtown in broad daylight.

Panhandling in the Granite State

Aug 23, 2017
Ellen Grimm

In Manchester, recently installed signs discourage giving money to people on the streets, warning that cash could be used to buy drugs. Other communities around the state have tried a variety of approaches, as they grapple with the overlapping problems of addiction, homelessness, and mental illness. 


The New Hampshire Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit this week against Purdue Pharma, maker of the popular opioid OxyContin. According to the Attorney General, Purdue peddled its drugs to prescribers using deceptive marketing techniques that understated the risks of addiction and overstated the drug’s benefits.

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.

Patrick Mansell / flickr Creative Commons

Police say a two-month-old infant in New Hampshire who died last year was exposed to and ingested methamphetamine, and his parents have been charged with negligent homicide and manslaughter.

  Republican Gov. Chris Sununu will attend a special meeting of the Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery.

The first-term governor is joining the group Friday afternoon. He's outlined fighting New Hampshire's heroin and opioid crisis as a key priority of his administration.

Commission members will discuss their spending priorities and give an update on the budget. Sununu boosted the commission's funding by several million dollars in his proposed budget, although the House's plan reduced some.

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?

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

For the past year, state and county prosecutors in New Hampshire have started enforcing a decades-old law that allows them to seek tougher penalties for drug dealers who sell lethal doses.

So far, the policy has led to a handful of convictions, with sentences ranging from a few years to 20 years in prison.

But critics warn this strategy will have little effect on the state’s epidemic of drug abuse.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Manchester’s public health director says based on last year’s numbers, the city’s drug problem is still serious but efforts to address it are working.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers are close to approving a federal grant to help the state Medical Examiners Office deal with a backlog of autopsies, mostly due to drug overdose deaths. 

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.

Appleswitch via Flickr Creative Commons

Three months ago, the Legislature signed off on a bill to expand an anti-drug law enforcement program known as Granite Hammer.

On Wednesday, state officials announced plans to distribute more than a million dollars in grant money to municipalities across New Hampshire. 

New Hampshire’s gubernatorial primary is just a few days away, and the top issue for many voters is how to solve the state’s ongoing opioid crisis.

Physicians licensed to prescribe a medication that reduces cravings and eases withdrawal for people addicted to heroin and other opioids will now be allowed to treat more patients.

 

Under new rules announced Wednesday by the Obama administration, physicians who prescribe Suboxone can treat 275 patients at a time, up from 100.

 

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. 


Jeff Pearson became addicted to heroin more than 30 years ago. Along the way, he racked up 80 drug-related offenses, went to prison five times and made dozens of rehab attempts, including several years standing in line for his daily dose of methadone.

In January, Pearson received a prescription for Suboxone, a medication that suppresses the symptoms of withdrawal. Four months later, he’s still surprised he’s not foraging for drugs every day, like he did for so many years.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Last year saw more drug overdose deaths than ever before in New Hampshire.

So far in 2016, the state’s confirmed at least 48 deaths, with another 89 potential cases on top of that — officials are waiting for more toxicology reports to add those into the total.

The death toll, however, only tells part of the story of the opioid crisis in New Hampshire.

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.

New Hampshire Senate
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The state Senate is taking up a bill that would give roughly $3 million in additional funding to various substance abuse and addiction related programs.

The upper chamber is poised to vote on a bill including the money Thursday. 

Todd Huffman / Flickr/CC

Designed to reduce the spread of disease by distributing clean needles to drug users, needle exchange programs can also provide outreach and referral for treatment.  Now, a bill in the legislature would allow these centers in New Hampshire. And while there's general support, concerns include whether to decriminalize trace amounts of heroin.

eric molina / Flickr/CC

We're checking in on the state's response to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Lawmakers were evenly split Tuesday on whether or not the House should support the legalization of needle exchange programs in New Hampshire.

After a 7 to 7 vote, the bill now heads to the full House next week without recommendation from the Criminal Justice Committee. Last month the Health and Human Services Committee unanimously backed the measure.  

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