drug abuse

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Democratic U.S. Sen. Maggie of New Hampshire is traveling this week to the U.S.-Mexico border to evaluate efforts underway to combat the trafficking of illicit drugs.

Hassan is a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has oversight on a number of border functions.

She will receive briefings from Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and discuss how Congress can better support their efforts to detect, intercept, and halt the trafficking of fentanyl and other illicit drugs.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's Congressional delegation says the state isn't getting its fair share of federal funds aimed at stemming the opioid epidemic.

 

The 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law under President Obama, will bring $485 million to the national opioid fight this year. New Hampshire is getting about $3 million of that.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster said she's disappointed at the amount and that the distribution method should take into account the state's rate of overdose deaths.

 

Jessica Hunt / NHPR

Jeffrey Meyers, Commissioner of the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services, says his agency is beefing up oversight of substance use disorder treatment centers that have been struggling to stay afloat or that have closed altogether after financial struggles – a situation the state can ill afford in the midst of the opioid crisis.  

Speaking on The Exchange, Meyers said the state is auditing these organizations regularly.

NHPR File Photo

Those pushing for more money to fight the opioid epidemic in the state are cheering a $333,000 federal grant announced this week that's targeted at some of the first points of contact for those struggling with the drugs. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Six months ago, the State Police Forensic Laboratory had a backlog of about 3,600 cases. It’s now down to 1,600, and analysts are steadily chipping away at the number of controlled drug cases.

There are a few reasons for the progress, Director Timothy Pifer says. They’ve hired two extra chemists, for one.

Another factor: Marijuana decriminalization.

New Hampshire’s state law eliminating jail time for possession of a small amount of marijuana took effect in September of 2017.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

President Trump's speech at Manchester Community College today about the national opioid epidemic included plenty of New Hampshire references.

Trump took time to thank Governor Chris Sununu and Manchester Fire Chief Daniel Goonan for attending.

The speech ranged widely on topics including sanctuary cities, DACA and the border wall with Mexico, but the President did not make any specific announcement of new funding measures to fight the opioid epidemic.

Trump did make it clear that he wants to see tougher penalties for those convicted of drug trafficking.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  President Donald Trump's plan to combat opioid drug addiction calls for stiffer penalties for drug traffickers, including the death penalty where it's appropriate under current law.

Administration officials say Trump also wants Congress to pass legislation reducing the amount of drugs necessary to trigger mandatory minimum sentences on traffickers who knowingly distribute certain illicit opioids.

Google maps

A new non-profit organization wants to open an addiction recovery center in Concord–in space that was only recently occupied by a different drug abuse recovery group.

Hope for New Hampshire Recovery announced last month that it would be closing its Concord office, along with three other locations around the state.

Since then, the state and others have come forward with funding for all the other centers, at least in the short-term, but not for the Concord center. Its Concord location closed its doors March 2. 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

The Merrimack County Department of Corrections opened the Edna McKenna Community Corrections Center Monday. It's an almost $7 million renovation and expansion project, re-purposing a 1983-built jail that was left vacant for a decade.

 

Officials hope the 68-bed site will decrease recidivism rates in the county by offering classes on things like life skills, parenting, and workforce readiness.

 

But the McKenna facility will also offer drug treatment programs.

 

NHPR File Photo

New Hampshire's largest operator of drug recovery centers is closing all but one of its locations, citing financial struggles.

Hope for New Hampshire Recovery offers support services for people struggling with drug addiction. But the organization announced Tuesday it'll close four centers: in Franklin, Concord, Claremont, and Berlin.

Those centers will close by the end of the month. It'll keep its doors open only in Manchester. That's its original -- and largest -- location.  

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.

A New Hampshire medical center is getting a $900,000 federal grant to address prescription drug misuse by creating a network of doctors, mental health providers, and addiction treatment centers.

Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock in Keene is receiving the grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Rural Health Policy.

The medical center says a lack of coordination among doctors, recovery centers and mental health professionals means prescription drug use isn't being monitored optimally.

N.H.'s 2nd Needle Exchange Program to Open in Nashua

Jan 25, 2018
FILE

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

Serenity Place Going Out of Business After 40 Years

Jan 23, 2018
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.

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.

Nashua OK's Funding for New Drug Recovery Coach

Dec 13, 2017

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.

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.

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