Heroin

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate on Thursday passed three bills aimed at combating the state’s ongoing opioid crisis.

The measures include the creation of a state drug court program, improvements to the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, the addition of more than $2 million to help police combat the drug epidemic, and money to buy 27 additional state police cruisers. 

Courtesy of the U.S. Senate

Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard joined New Hampshire's two U.S. Senators in Washington Wednesday to testify on a bill aimed at combating the heroin epidemic.

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The first addiction recovery center in Manchester is one step closer to opening. That's after the city’s planning board has approved a permit request to turn the former Hoitt Furniture Building into a 24/7 one-stop treatment facility.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Just two weeks into the new legislative session, Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed into law two bills aimed at tackling the state’s opioid epidemic.

The fast tracked bills came out of the state’s legislative drug task force that was crafted during last year’s special session. In 2015 more than 400 people died of a drug overdose.

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The 72-acre, sprawling campus of Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center - with about a dozen buildings overlooking lakes and mountains - has always been used as a place to treat people with brain injuries or developmental disabilities. But there has always been controversy too.

    

In 1992 the FBI raided the site when they suspected the original owners of fraud. And then last year, after the Disability Rights Center put out a scathing report on Lakeview’s practices, the state shut it down. The place was notorious for poor care. But Eric Spofford hopes to change all that.

Josh Rogers/NHPR

Jack Wozmak says with the legislature presently focused on the opioid crisis, now is a good time for him to step down as the state's so-called "drug czar." (Click here to read his resignation letter.) 

Stephanie Keeney via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/8zRcu7

Gluten-free? Olive or coconut oil for cooking? Mediterranean or paleo? If nutrition is a science, why does the research vary so wildly, and why all the zany correlations between who we are and what we eat? On today’s show, faith, party affiliation and other fictions from food science.

Also today, truth in advertising? Think again. From TV ads, to menus and billboards, we all know food photography looks too good to be edible- today we'll hear the truth behind those perfectly crisped turkeys, immaculately sculpted ice cream cones, and more.  

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Legislative leaders on both sides are cheering the Senate’s passage of three bills meant to address the state’s heroin and opioid crisis.

 Less than a week after the legislative session opened, a trio of bills meant to address the state’s heroin crisis is heading for vote before the state Senate this Thursday.

The bills were vetted as part of a special task force that convened at the end of last year to focus specifically on issues related to the state's heroin and opioid crisis.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

In Manchester this past year, more than 540 dirty syringes have been found. But as heroin use increases across the state, used needles are also showing up in cities like Nashua, Dover and Laconia.

As part of our series, Dangerous Ends, we look at one bill seeking to legalize needle exchange programs in New Hampshire – a proposal that has been controversial in the state.

New Hampshire saw at least 385 drug deaths in 2015, according to the latest tally from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner — but the actual total could be even higher, as some 45 cases are still pending toxicology.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Citing concern about illegal drug use, the Berlin school board will be making the anti-overdose drug Narcan available in its schools.

Almost six percent of Berlin high school students admitted trying heroin at least once, according to a 2013 student survey prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says Corinne Cascadden, the superintendent of the Berlin schools.

Greta Rybus for NPR

When Jack O'Connor was 19, he was so desperate to beat his addictions to alcohol and opioids that he took a really rash step. He joined the Marines.

"This will fix me," O'Connor thought as he went to boot camp. "It better fix me or I'm screwed."

After 13 weeks of sobriety and exercise and discipline, O'Connor completed basic training, but he started using again immediately.

"Same thing," he says. "Percocet, like, off the street. Pills."

Chris Jensen for NHPR

On Friday Senator Jeanne Shaheen said the federal government should take the problem with heroin and opioids as seriously as its concern over Ebola.

She made the comments during a meeting with about two dozen health and social workers, educators and police at the Berlin High School.

She said while the budget Congress approved last month has more money to deal with drug problems it is not enough.

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Presidential hopefuls and New Hampshire's top elected officials are coming together to talk about drug addiction and how to fight it.

Heroin and opioid abuse has become a top issue for local and national politicians in New Hampshire, where officials estimate roughly 400 people died from overdoses in 2015.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

As a state task force on heroin and opioid misuse wraps up its official work, lawmakers involved say the real work is just beginning.

(Left cousin Sofia Ford, step dad Ron Croce, younger brother Ryan Belanger, cousin Eva Ford, aunt Nena Stracuzzi, mother Lisa Stracuzzi, aunt Francesca Kennedy.)
Paige Sutherland/NHPR

In the coming weeks New Hampshire lawmakers hope to fast-track a number of bills to address the growing number of drug overdose deaths, which is on track to reach more than 400 this year.  As part of our year-long series on the state's opioid crisis called "Dangerous Ends" we look behind the numbers and hear one family’s story of loss.


12.30.15: "Heroin: Cape Cod, USA" & What to Talk About

Dec 30, 2015
Ted Kerwin via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/49bSHq

Does this scenario sound familiar? You’re in an elevator and your boss steps in. You scan your brain for something clever to say and come up with…bupkis. On today’s show we'll get some tips on how to get a good conversation started with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Then, conversations between the deaf and hard of hearing rely on near constant eye contact, which turns walking and talking into an elaborate dance of avoiding obstacles to maintain sightlines. Later in the show, we'll hear about a University with buildings and spaces designed for how deaf people communicate.

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There have been 342 drug deaths in New Hampshire so far this year, and state officials are expecting the total to surpass 400 by the end of 2015.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

 A special task force on heroin and opioid issues okay’ed plans to speed up the review of about 20 different proposals aimed at tackling the drug crisis, culminating nearly three weeks of meetings meant to size up the Legislature’s response before the regular session resumes in January.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As the state’s drug task force plans to wrap up on Tuesday, most of the bills slotted to be fast-tracked next legislative session have more or less been chosen. 

The bills include increasing the penalties for fentanyl, ramping up drug prevention in schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, and creating a 24-hour hotline for those battling addiction.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said without the task force, such proposals would not have been carefully vetted before facing a vote.

Steve Smithe via Flickr

The New Hampshire Medical Society told lawmakers that crafting best practices for prescribing opioids should be left to the medical community.  

James F Clay/FLICKR

A bill that would mandate education on drugs and alcohol in schools is likely to be fast tracked once lawmakers return to Concord in January.

Courtesy the NH House of Representatives

 The idea of expanding drug courts in New Hampshire got an initial stamp of approval from the finance division of the state’s heroin and opioid task force on Tuesday and will now head to the full task force for further approval.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When they return to Concord next month, New Hampshire lawmakers will have hundreds of bills to sift through to begin the new legislative session.  At a forum in Bedford Tuesday morning, top Republican leaders said the focus this session will be on addressing the state’s opioid problem and whether to renew Medicaid expansion.

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A New Hampshire drug treatment program wants to give people a way to exchange used needles for clean ones, but the plan could require a change to state laws on the possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The Legislature's new drug task force kicks off Tuesday with its first meeting aimed to help better address the state's opioid crisis.

The group has a busy schedule, with nearly 20 people expected to speak over the course of the day. That will include Manchester Chief of Police Nick Willard, and Tym Rourke, who chairs the Governor's commission on Alcohol and 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.

GUESTS:F

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By all accounts, New Hampshire in the throes of a drug addiction crisis; more than 300 people died from drug overdoses last year, the most in state history.

But while there’s the human toll, there’s also an impact on businesses and the state’s overall economy.

To talk more about that, Jeff Feingold, editor of the New Hampshire Business Review, joined NHPR's Morning Edition to talk about NHBR's reporting on the issue.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte says the newly-passed defense spending bill includes provisions to help New Hampshire fight heroin and opioid abuse.

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