opioids

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.

Dimitris Kalogeropoylos via Flickr CC

A powerful synthetic opioid manufactured in illicit labs was the main driver of the record 325 drug-related deaths in New Hampshire last year.

Fentanyl is used to manage severe chronic and post-surgical pain. As a pharmaceutical, prescribed in lozenges or transdermal patches, it is 10 to 50 times more potent than morphine.

But, increasingly, a powdered form of the drug that is 200 to 2,000 times more potent is being mixed with heroin or passed off as heroin to unwitting users.

One of the ways health officials have tried to stem the growing amount of heroin and prescription opioid abuse in New Hampshire is methadone treatment. Methadone is an opioid, but given in the proper dose, it can reduce cravings without getting users high.

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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.

A coalition of federal and regional law enforcement officials have designated Rockingham County as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.  Rockingham County joins Hillsborough as a so-called “HIDTA” county.

While it may seem like an unwanted distinction, Jay Fallon, Director of the New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, says it will actually bring additional federal funds and coordination between federal, state and local organizations

Courtesy of MPD

Manchester Police say they’ve arrested nine alleged drug dealers and seized more than $90,000 worth of Oxycodone tablets.

The drugs seized over the course of 13 searches on August 27th came by way of New York and Lawrence Massachusetts according to authorities. The individuals arrested were affiliated with what they are calling a “high level” Drug Trafficking Organization. Three of the individuals behind bars were operating at the top of the chain.

Sgt. Brian O’Keefe says the multi-agency investigation began nearly a year ago and is still ongoing.

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.