Opioids

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte is urging the Health and Human Services secretary to work with the state to ease costly requirements for some residential drug treatment centers to obtain a health care facility license.

She said recent reports indicate that stringent licensing requirements could force several centers to cut the number of available beds and reduce their ability to serve people dealing with substance abuse issues.

Ayotte said this is a serious concern in light of state's heroin and prescription drug addiction crisis.

Courtesy Photo

Chris Rocket has been in prison for 19 years. His convictions are for second degree murder and robbery. The crimes, he says, were the result of an alcohol addiction.

His addiction to heroin and prescription drugs?

He got hooked on those while incarcerated at the state prison in Berlin.


Sidebar: The Science on Naltrexone

Aug 5, 2015
www.drug-alcohol.com

  When the Department of Corrections begins offering naltrexone to male inmates sometime this fall, it will put New Hampshire among the more than 20 states that use the drug to treat incarcerated addicts.

New Hampshire, however, will launch the program using the oral version of naltrexone, which studies show faces more barriers to success than the extended-release injections used in other prisons and jails across the country.

Getty Images

Manchester's police chief is hosting a forum Tuesday night for the public to talk about the city's heroin epidemic.

Chief Nick Willard will be one of seven panel members at the forum at the Radisson Hotel from 5 to 7 p.m.

Manchester police Lt. Brian O’Keefe says drug activity in the city continues to surge at an alarming rate.

“We’re well over I believe 47 deaths since Jan. 1,” he said. “In addition to that, we have responded to probably well over 250 overdose-related calls since Jan. 1. The numbers are staggering in the city.”

Republican Senator Says Drug Czar Must Resign

Jul 27, 2015
Josh Rogers/NHPR

Sen. Andy Sanborn has called for New Hampshire's so-called "drug czar" to resign, two days before a legislative committee will decide whether to extend the official's contract.

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. 

FLICKR/CREATIVE COMMONS

New Hampshire’s drug czar has released his initial recommendations on how the state can combat its growing opioid problem.

Narcan, also known as naloxone, is an anti-overdose drug.
Paige Sutherland for NHPR

It was a quiet summer night in June when EMTs in Laconia got the call of a possible overdose at a nearby house.

When they arrived, they were brought to a bedroom with posters on the wall, laundry spread on the floor and a snowboard laid up against a dresser. 

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.

Indie Photos / Flickr/CC

New Hampshire officials call it a public health epidemic: record numbers of Granite Staters are overdosing and dying because of opioid drugs, especially heroin.   We’ll find out how this problem grew so quickly, and the state’s responses to it, including a relatively new prescription drug monitoring program.

GUESTS:

Methadone Clinic In Keene Comes Under Scrutiny

Dec 1, 2014

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.

Easier Access To Overdose Drug Could Save Lives

Nov 24, 2014
Taber Andrew Bain

A task force appointed by the governor says first responders need quick and easy access to a drug that’s been proven to save lives during a heroin overdose.

There were over 1,200 drug related emergency calls in NH last year. Seventy people died from heroin overdoses.

But the drug task force’s expects higher numbers in 2014, which is why it wants first responders to have easy access to a nasal spray called naloxone. That drug has proven to be effective in saving the lives of people in the throes of an opioid overdose.

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.

The Executive Council has picked an Alabama company to begin collecting data that will help physicians and pharmacists identify patients who may be abusing prescription medications.

The five-year contract awarded to Health Information Designs is the next step in the state’s effort to set up a prescription drug monitoring program, or PMP. Such programs are aimed at “doctor shopping,” in which patients visit multiple physicians for prescriptions that are then filled at different pharmacies.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan will join most of the other New England governors at a conference to map out a regional response to the growing problem of opiate drug abuse.

Hassan will attend Tuesday's meeting at Brandeis University in Waltham hosted by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Only Maine Gov. Paul LePage is not expected to attend.

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