Opioids

AP|Holly Ramer

What started as one mother's private outlet for grief has grown into a larger effort to comfort others and reduce the stigma of addiction in New Hampshire.

After her daughter died of a heroin overdose in 2014, Anne Marie Zanfagna painted a pink-and-purple portrait as a way to heal and remember her daughter's beauty and vibrancy. Since then, the Plaistow woman has painted more than 80 portraits for other families, and they're on display this month at the New Hampshire State Library in Concord.

FILE

Starting in November 16 AmeriCorps volunteers will be coming to New Hampshire to work with people fighting drug addiction in the state.

jamiesrabbits on Flickr / http://bit.ly/2vLTghb

New Hampshire's Attorney General made waves earlier this week when it brought its first lawsuit against a pharmaceutical giant, Purdue, over its alleged role in the state’s opioid crisis. But this is just the latest in a decades-long trend of states taking big industries to court.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit this week against Purdue Pharma, maker of the popular opioid OxyContin. According to the Attorney General, Purdue peddled its drugs to prescribers using deceptive marketing techniques that understated the risks of addiction and overstated the drug’s benefits.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: August 11, 2017

Aug 10, 2017

N.H.'s Attorney General files to sue Purdue Pharma over its role in the state’s opioid crisis. The President declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency - or did he?  The ACLU and the Secretary of State's Office agree N.H. will share voter information with the Trump election commission, but not as a digital database.  And Keno will be on the ballot in several N.H. cities this November.


New Hampshire’s Office of the Attorney General filed its first lawsuit against one of the companies it’s been investigating over their role in the state’s opioid crisis.

Reuters

While she might not agree with the President’s description of New Hampshire as a “drug-infested den” — as far as Kriss Blevens is concerned, his sentiment is spot-on.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire politicians on both sides of the aisle were quick to condemn comments President Trump reportedly made during a conversation with the President of Mexico earlier this year about the Granite State’s opioid epidemic.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

At least 10 people have died from overdoses related to carfentanil in New Hampshire so far this year, according to the latest edition of a semi-monthly report on drug deaths.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Law enforcement in New Hampshire will soon get some help in fighting the state’s drug epidemic. Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill this week putting $4.5 million towards drug enforcement.

theaterofwar.com

The Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College is planning a series of performances that use theater to get at issues around drug and alcohol addiction. Redfern has received $25,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts, which will be used - in part - toward the effort.

Flickr

Despite mounting public awareness, New Hampshire, like other states, struggles to contain its opioid epidemic. Part of the problem is a lack of real-time information about who’s using opioids, especially fentanyl, and how government policies can help them stop.

Dreamstime via Flickr CC

The attorney general’s efforts to investigate the role of drug companies in the state's ongoing opioid crisis took a big leap forward last week, thanks to a favorable ruling from the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

An investigation by the attorney general’s office into New Hampshire’s largest provider of drug recovery centers has ended with no criminal activity found.

But attorneys from the state’s justice department will be meeting with leadership at Hope for New Hampshire Recovery soon to offer assistance and guidance in the management of the organization.

FILE

The state’s first syringe exchange program has opened its doors.

Earlier this month Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill into law making such programs legal, allowing drug users to exchange used needles for clean ones.

David Kessler via Flickr

During the last 15 years, the number of opioids sold in this country has quadrupled, contributing to an epidemic of addiction and overdose that has ravaged communities in New Hampshire and across the country. 

Paige Sutherland

New Hampshire’s largest drug recovery organization, HOPE for New Hampshire Recovery, won’t be receiving more state funding, at least not for now.

On Wednesday the top official at New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services announced that the state is holding off on a contract with HOPE, pending investigation.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

New Hampshire has joined 36 other states in allowing illicit drug users to exchange used needles for clean ones.

Inmates at the Strafford County Jail will no longer be able to receive personal letters in the mail. The policy change comes just days after multiple inmates overdosed inside the jail.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

At the urging of a New Hampshire family who lost their son to an overdose, Granite Health system is planning a new campaign to encourage people to safely dispose of leftover prescription drugs — its goal, and title, is “Zero Left.”

Since their son, Adam, died from an apparent fentanyl overdose in 2015, Jim and Jeanne Moser of East Kingston have made it their life’s work to educate others about the importance of safely disposing of extra medication.

Chris Jensen

Over the past two years, the nonprofit organization HOPE for New Hampshire Recovery has expanded from a single modest space in Manchester to seven drug recovery centers statewide, making it the largest such organization in New Hampshire.

But Hope for New Hampshire’s growth hasn’t gone smoothly. 

CREDIT SARA PLOURDE / NHPR

The State's so-called "drug czar" is stepping down. 

James Vara, who held the position for the past year, has been nominated by Gov. Chris Sununu to serve as Chief of Staff for the Attorney General. The Executive Council must approve Vara's new position at next week's meeting.

Flickr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

The Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse joined New Hampshire Rep. Annie Kuster in Hanover Tuesday afternoon. They spoke as part of a discussion on the opioid crisis hosted by Dartmouth College.

Kuster took advantage of the opportunity to criticize President Trump’s proposed cuts to Medicaid. “We all know the importance of access to treatment for addressing this crisis," she said. "I will continue to hold this administration accountable for their actions in addressing the opioid epidemic.”

5.24.17: Spring Picks

May 24, 2017

It's spring picks week on Word of Mouth. We've scoured our playlists to bring you some of the most powerful audio we've heard in recent months. And we start with the story of a community gripped by the opioid epidemic, and how some locals are trying to stop it.

Plus we’ll hear what happens when Terry Gross switches roles and becomes the interviewee.

Links to all of today's picks can be found below.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The state Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed that the potent synthetic opiate Carfentanil has been involved in a total of six deaths in New Hampshire. 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

When recovering from an opioid addiction, one important step is finding safe, drug-free housing.

There are a lot of places in New Hampshire that call themselves 'sober living.' But with no state oversight there’s no real way to check how sober these houses actually are.

Screenshot from D.C. Presser

Democratic U.S. Senators from New Hampshire and other states hit hardest by the opioid crisis spoke out Tuesday about what they see as failures by President Donald Trump to address the epidemic.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen started off the press conference in D.C. quoting President Trump on a promise she says he’s not living up to.

Governor Chris Sununu on The Exchange

May 15, 2017
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu sits down with The Exchange to discuss the Republican health care overhaul currently in the U.S. Senate -- and implications for the opioid crisis in the Granite State.  

We'll get Sununu's take on the two-year spending plan for the state, after the House failed to come up with its own version of the budget for the first time in recent memory.  And we look at the recent controversy over mental health staffing at the New Hampshire State Hospital.


Weekly N.H. News Roundup: May 12, 2017

May 12, 2017

President Trump names N.H. Secretary of State Bill Gardner to a Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price visits New Hampshire to hear about the state’s response to the opioid crisis.  And legislative hearings into online postings by two state reps become contentious.  


Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway stopped by Manchester’s central firehouse Wednesday, as part of the Trump Administration’s nationwide listening tour focused on the opioid epidemic.

During her visit, Conway had little to say herself. But her presence spurred lots of talk among the locals.

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