Opioid Epidemic

Daniela Allee / NHPR

Getting rid of old medications is one approach to fighting the opioid crisis.

Now, Walmart pharmacies across New Hampshire will offer a new way for people to dispose of unused or expired medicine.

Casey McDermott / NHPR

Police departments and educators across the state are working together to bring a new drug prevention program to schools.

The Law Enforcement Against Drugs program, or LEAD, has been growing in popularity with more than 100 instructors now in New Hampshire.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Sandwich Police Chief Doug Wyman about why he's been working with the local schools in his community to replace the well-known DARE program with LEAD. 


NHPR Staff

Frisbie Memorial Hospital is closing a recovery center in downtown Rochester.

In a statement, Chief Nursing Officer John Levitow says the decision will eliminate "redundancy of service" and allow the hospital to better target its resources. Rochester is also served by the SOS Recovery Center.

Levitow says the hospital will work to avoid any disruption in care as patients are sent elsewhere for services.

The Frisbie recovery center opened in the fall of 2016 as a partnership between Frisbie and the city to provide 24/7 substance use disorder support and treatment.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Senator Maggie Hassan recently visited the U.S.-Mexico border to meet officials and law enforcement working on the front lines of the illicit drug trade.

 

During her five-day trip, Hassan met with Mexican leaders, too. One of her main focuses was fentanyl, the drug which contributed to 76 percent of overdose deaths in New Hampshire last year.

 

“The Mexican officials agree that their cartels are trafficking a great deal of fentanyl,” Hassan said.

 

Sheryl Rich-Kern / NHPR

Grandparents have always played a meaningful part in their grandchildren’s lives. But in the face of the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire, more are taking on the role of full-time caregivers.  And that means they have to prepare – emotionally and financially – to raise young kids at a time when most of their peers are slowing down.

As part of NHPR's Crossroad series, which examines the impact of substance abuse on the Granite State, NHPR Contributor Sheryl Rich-Kern visited one grand-family in Rochester.

Via LinkedIn

A top advisor to Gov. Chris Sununu has been placed on paid administrative leave and is under review by the attorney general’s office for an unspecified personnel issue.

Marty Boldin — Sununu’s Policy Advisor for Substance Misuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery — will remain on leave until the attorney general’s review is complete, the governor’s Chief of Staff Jayne Millerick said Friday afternoon.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Concord says a massive drug sweep involving 20 different federal, state and local agencies has led to 45 indictments, and the seizure of more than 30 kilograms of fentanyl.

Officials say they tracked a Lawrence, Massachusetts-based drug ring for more than a year, allegedly overseen by two brothers, Sergio and Raulin Martinez. 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Congresswoman Annie Kuster met in Concord Monday with more than a dozen state and local leaders to discuss how to best use funding aimed at the opioid epidemic.

 

Kuster led a listening session where doctors, law enforcement and mental health experts offered expertise on how to battle addiction in the state.

 

One major theme was that, while the promise of billions of dollars in funding is welcome, New Hampshire needs to do more to make sure there's a trained workforce on the front lines.

 

via UFL.edu

New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program more than doubled in size last year, and many see it as an alternative to using opioids for pain management.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Pediatrician Julie Kim wrote an article for the Huffington Post about how she sometimes prefers to recommend medical marijuana to her patients. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with her about how medical marijuana has helped her with concerns over prescribing opioids to certain patients.

Jason Moon for NHPR

An addiction recovery center in Rochester celebrated a major expansion Thursday.

SOS Recovery started on the Seacoast just over 18 months ago in response to the worsening opioid crisis in the region. Since then, the peer recovery center says it’s had over 2,000 visits from people seeking help.

SOS Recovery Director John Burns says the demand was overwhelming their old space which was just about 500 square feet.

On Thursday, the center celebrated an expansion to 2,000 square feet, which is being offered by First Church Congregational at a steep discount.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Rhode Island has become the first state to sign on to a new drug recovery initiative that Governor Chris Sununu is promoting on the national scale.

Should N.H. Consider Safe Injection Sites?

Mar 27, 2018
Wikimedia

With New Hampshire struggling in the midst of an opioid crisis, we look at a controversial idea - creating safe places for addicts to inject drugs without fear of infected needles and with access to overdose medication. Several cities in the U.S. and Canada are considering this form of what's called "harm reduction" as a way to address rising overdose rates as well as the public health crisis.  But it is a controversial idea, seen by others as indulging and encouraging addiction.  

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: March 23, 2018

Mar 23, 2018

In a visit to Manchester this week, President Trump discusses efforts to combat the opioid crisis and floats the idea of the death penalty for drug traffickers.  With the deadline for bills in the legislature to "crossover" from one chamber to the other, we look at which bills struggled, which sailed through, and what is still up for debate.  Plus,  a last-minute attempt to change the Granite State’s gun laws.

Opioid Crisis is Taking A Toll on Those On the Frontlines

Mar 19, 2018
Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The drug crisis in New Hampshire has left its mark on thousands of people - those struggling with addiction, their families, friends and co-workers.

But increasing attention is being paid to another group bearing a burden from the epidemic: first responders and those working in the recovery field.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Donald Trump's planned visit to New Hampshire next week is expected to focus on the opioid epidemic, and some local responses to it.

 

In Manchester on Monday, he will unveil a new plan to battle the national opioid crisis, according to news reports.

 

b / New Hampshire Public Radio

State officials are working on a deal to secure funding for drug recovery services in Sullivan County. That’s after the major provider in the region, Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, announced it was rolling back its offerings last month.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

When you think about New Hampshire’s opioid crisis, Manchester and Nashua tend to come to mind. That’s because they’ve been getting most of the attention…and resources.

But as NHPR’s Paige Sutherland reports, smaller towns in the Northern part of the state are battling this crisis too…and struggling to do so.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Dartmouth-Hitchcock announced a $2.7 million federal grant today that will go toward treating pregnant women struggling with opioid addiction.

 

The non-profit health system says the two-year grant will allow it to help seven maternity care offices throughout the state build out Medication Assisted Treatment programs. The idea is that pregnant women suffering from opioid use disorder will be more likely to seek help in a maternity care environment.

 

Courtesy NH State Police

Law enforcement officials say a massive drug sweep on Thursday resulted in 151 arrests and the seizure of more than 550 grams of heroin and fentanyl.

The Granite Shield operation involved dozens of partner agencies who fanned out across the state, targeting opioid and other drug dealers.

We talk with Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster about the efforts of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force to increase funding to fight the opioid epidemic.  The new federal budget deal passed last week includes $6 billion in funding for opioid abuse and mental health treatment.  We discuss how much N.H. might receive, who decides, and how it would be spent.

Ellen Grimm/NHPR

New Hampshire "drug czar" David Mara discusses the state's efforts to address the on-going addiction crisis.  Is the Granite state spending enough to prevent and treat addiction?  What's the right balance between law enforcement and treatment?  And is there adequate oversight of the state's drug treatment infrastructure? We also look at lessons learned from the closure of Serenity Place, Manchester's addiction treatment center associated with the Safe Station program. 

Also, we hear from NHPR's Paige Sutherland on her extensive reporting on the opioid crisis in New Hampshire. 


N.H. Reps: Trump Must Do More for Opioid Epidemic

Jan 31, 2018
Getty

  New Hampshire's Democratic congressional delegation reacting to President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech appreciate his efforts to take on the opioid epidemic, but say he hasn't done enough to get funding.

Rep. Annie Kuster says declaring the opioid epidemic a national health emergency was the right thing for Trump to do, but without the funding, it's a meaningless gesture. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says he must finally begin fulfilling his promise to deliver treatment resources.