drug abuse

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Approved by a special legislative session, a newly minted task force will spend the next weeks considering several options for tackling the state’s drug problem, which has claimed more than five hundred lives in the last two years. The goal is to craft legislation quickly -- in time for the January return of the legislature.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers Wednesday overwhelmingly signed off on a joint task force charged with addressing the state’s opioid epidemic. The vote came in a special session of the Legislature.

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

With all of the recent posturing at the State House, it might be easy to assume that Gov. Maggie Hassan and Republicans in the Legislature are having trouble finding common ground on how best to tackle substance abuse. But, as lawmakers gear up for a special session devoted to New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic, that’s not necessarily the case.


Congressman Frank Guinta and Congresswoman Ann Kuster are crossing the aisle in an effort to tackle New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic.

In a roundtable event in Concord on Friday the two lawmakers talked about their new bill aimed to bring more federal dollars for substance abuse treatment to New Hampshire.

Sharon Morrow

Phoenix House is the only residential substance abuse treatment center for adolescents in New Hampshire. Orion is sober and in recovery with help from Phoenix House.

Almond Butterscotch via Flickr CC

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire is getting $1.25 million in federal funding for youth substance abuse prevention programs across the state.

The Drug-Free Communities Support Program run by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy will distribute 10 grants of $125,000.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Since appointed by Governor Hassan to lead the fight against an epidemic of heroin and opioid abuse, Wozmak has faced some political pushback and a budget impasse. We’ll talk with him about that and hear his plan for marshaling the state’s resources to tackle drug abuse and overdose deaths.


  • Jack Wozmak – New Hampshire’s senior director of Substance Misuse and Behavioral Health for the Governor’s Office, also known as the state’s ‘drug czar.’
Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

  It’s difficult to help anyone who is struggling with a drug addiction problem. But helping a teenager comes with a unique set of obstacles. 

Brett Levin / Flickr/CC

We  sit down with Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who is in New Hampshire talking about his efforts to ease federal marijuana laws. It’s a huge debate going on around the country, as more states move toward medical marijuana, decriminalization, and, in a few cases, legalization.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Presidential candidates usually hit the campaign trail carrying a long list of issues they hope to talk about. But lately, voters in New Hampshire have been forcing an issue of their own into candidates’ stump speeches: the state’s ongoing opioid crisis.

Tamara Keith / NPR

Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in Keene yesterday to discuss what she has called a "quiet epidemic" in New Hampshire, substance abuse.

The North Country Health Consortium’s offers a Youth Leadership Through Adventure program, serving kids in Coos and Grafton County. The program helps middle and high schools to create a healthy culture, develop leadership skills and avoid alcohol and other drugs. Tony Bolash is a student at Gorham High School, where students named the group “Inspire.”

A number of New Hampshire cities and towns are taking part in this year’s National Night Out on Tuesday evening.

The annual events are aimed at building stronger relationships between law enforcement and the community.

Captain Mike Schwartz with the Portsmouth Police Department says that’s particularly important this year, as the state deals with the growth in heroin and opioid abuse.

Josh Rogers

Jack Wozmak, Gov. Maggie Hassan's pick to spearhead the state's fight against opioid abuse, has been on the job since early February, but this week has amounted to his coming out.  It hasn’t been all – or even mostly -- smooth. 

Andres Rodriguez / Flickr / Creative Commons

We continue our discussion on the heroin epidemic in the Granite State with a focus on prevention.  Given the record numbers of drug overdoes deaths in New Hampshire, we’ll ask what steps health providers, educators, law enforcement, and other members of the community are taking to stop drug use before it starts.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

As the heroin crisis in New Hampshire continues, and the number of overdoses grows, communities around the state are addressing the issues with increasing urgency.

Douglas Porter via Flickr CC

New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a bill that would give people who report alcohol or drug overdoses immunity from criminal prosecution in certain situations.

A Senate committee is taking testimony on a bill, already passed by the House, on Tuesday. Senators earlier this year sent a similar bill for more study. The bill's sponsors say their intent is to encourage witnesses and victims of drug overdoses to seek medical attention that could save a life.

New Hampshire is in the midst of a drug epidemic. The state’s Medical Examiner’s office says drug-related deaths have risen to a record high of 300 in 2014. To combat the most addictive drugs, lawmakers will consider tripling funding for the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery.

Of those three things, recovery services are severely lacking in New Hampshire, compared to neighboring states.

  The state’s Medical Examiner’s Office says the number of people who died of drug overdoses in 2014 is up to 300. That’s a record for the state and the number could still climb as ‘cause of death’ is determined for pending cases.

The synthetic opioid fentanyl was identified in a growing number of overdose deaths and even outpaced heroin as the leading cause of drug-related deaths last year. There were 193 drug-related deaths in 2013.

State officials say opioid abuse has reached epidemic levels.

B.A.D. via Flickr CC

As the number of heroin-related deaths and hospital visits rise in New Hampshire, health officials have started a website directory for locating drug treatment services in the state.

The site, www.nhtreatment.org, was developed to help people in need of alcohol and drug abuse treatment find available service providers.

Joe Harding, director of the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services, said the site also will enable providers who provide treatment to easily register to list their services.

The Economic Impact Of Substance Abuse In N.H.

Dec 17, 2014
Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr/CC

On top of individual suffering, a recent report finds alcohol and drugs also take a toll on workforce productivity and the state’s fiscal well-being -- to the tune of nearly two billion dollars.  The authors say policy makers and business leaders should consider addressing this as way to help bolster the state’s economy.


Drug and alcohol abuse put a $1.84 billion strain on the New Hampshire economy in 2012, according to a new study. That figure was almost three percent of the state’s GDP in that same year.

Courtesy Rachel justmakeit via Flickr/Creative Commons

Families in Transition (FIT) provides safe, affordable housing and support services to families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The goal is to help people achieve self-sufficiency. Rebecca moved into Families in Transition housing when her youngest daughter was two months old.

Substance Abuse And Addiction: N.H. Discusses

Oct 29, 2014
http://nhlistens.org/sites/nhlistens.org/files/media/pdf/New_Futures_Final_Report_Final_Web.pdf / New Hampshire Listens

It’s no secret that substance abuse is a huge and growing problem across the United States. And although New Hampshire is often ranked healthier than other states, substance abuse is one area in which we fare worse. For example, the Granite State is well above average in terms of binge drinking and prescription drug abuse, and below average in prevention and treatment. And now, a new initiative this year brought together community members in conversations across the state to discuss these problems, and the biggest barriers to addressing them.

Steve Smith via Flickr CC

New Hampshire doctors are among the nation’s most prolific prescribers of Oxycontin and other opioids, according to a government report released Tuesday that analyzed the state-by-state use of highly addictive painkillers.

The Executive Council has picked an Alabama company to begin collecting data that will help physicians and pharmacists identify patients who may be abusing prescription medications.

The five-year contract awarded to Health Information Designs is the next step in the state’s effort to set up a prescription drug monitoring program, or PMP. Such programs are aimed at “doctor shopping,” in which patients visit multiple physicians for prescriptions that are then filled at different pharmacies.

NHPR Staff

It’s been nearly two years since state health officials announced a major outbreak of hepatitis C at Exeter Hospital. The cause of that outbreak was what's known as drug diversion – a hospital worker stealing drugs and tainting syringes later used on patients.

Courtesy Rachel justmakeit via Flickr/Creative Commons

Families in Transition provides safe, affordable housing and support services to families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The goal is to help people achieve self-sufficiency. Rebecca moved into Families in Transition housing when her youngest daughter was two months old.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  About 80% of the people behind bars in New Hampshire have substance abuse issues. It’s a growing problem and one way the justice system is trying to address the problem is with drug courts—where nonviolent offenders have their sentences suspended if they take part in treatment. Five counties now operate drug courts and efforts are underway to start two more in Manchester and Nashua. The program could help reduce recidivism rates.

W.W. Norton

Author Andre Dubus III talks about his new book "Dirty Love"

  • A successful professional hopes to win back his wife after proving her infidelity. A bank clerk crowding in on 30 and hoping for a family moves in with her compulsive, demeaning boyfriend.  A bartender who fancies himself a poet cheats on his pregnant wife, and a pretty teenaged girl gets shamed on Youtube and reaches out for the promise of a new future and a new love on Skype. These characters all live in the faded beach towns and leafy suburbs of the New England coast. They are united by their clumsy attempts at connection and are the subjects of four loosely connected novellas in a new book called “Dirty Love” by Andre Dubus III. The national book award-winning author of “House of Sand and Fog” and “Townie” again presents gritty, frustrated lives on the skids of the American dream... NOTE: Andre's reading and book signing at the New England College has been rescheduled to April 16th due to weather.