drug abuse

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.

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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.  

New Hampshire Senate
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

New Hampshire child protection officials would have more power to intervene when a parent is abusing drugs or a child is born drug dependent under a bill adopted by the state’s senate. The bill passed unanimously but not without debate.

The bill defines opioid abuse or dependence by a parent as neglect under New Hampshire's Child Protection Act. Right now that law doesn't identify specific conduct by parents as being sufficient to trigger neglect proceedings.


Manchester's chief of police is set to testify this week on Capitol Hill about New Hampshire's opioid epidemic.   

Grappling With Homelessness in New Hampshire

Jan 12, 2016
Jeff / Flickr/CC

It's a question Granite State communities are grappling with, as progress appears to have stalled on finding housing for homeless people. Advocates agree a dearth of affordable housing exacerbates the problem. But there's debate over whether providing temporary shelter can forestall lasting solutions on such challenges as unemployment and substance abuse.

Tony Webster via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4NPfdS

You might be surprised to learn that America’s murder rate has been steadily declining for more than two decades. Despite the drop, the number of murder cases being solved has remained flat.

On today’s show, technology, trust, and why cops aren't solving more murders. Plus, a grieving mother turns to art to remember her daughter, and other victims of New Hampshire’s heroin epidemic.

A special task force on the state's opioid crisis has given the initial stamp of approval to a bill that would impose stricter criminal penalties for the distribution of fentanyl.

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.

Giving Matters: Providing Addiction Therapy

Sep 19, 2015
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.

Giving Matters: Helping Kids Make Smart Decisions

Aug 8, 2015

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.