Opioids

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

The Executive Council unanimously approved $600,000 for Manchester-based Hope for New Hampshire Recovery Wednesday, despite a recent audit finding the organization has failed to comply with state contracts in the past.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

More than half a million dollars in new state funding for a major operator of recovery centers is up in the air ahead of a key Executive Council vote Wednesday morning. 

That’s after the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday released an audit of the organization, Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, detailing financial and operational concerns.

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

A state audit of one of the largest operators of drug recovery centers in New Hampshire has pointed to multiple problems with the organization's financial and operational policies, as well as failure to meet certain billing and reporting requirements. 

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.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Craig Perry stopped by the Claremont office of Hope for New Hampshire Recovery on Thursday afternoon. He struggled with addiction for a good chunk of his 20s, but now, at 30 years old, he’s been clean for about a year and a half.

His drug problems started when he took his first job after college, he said. He’d get high on lunch breaks.  “I didn’t know it’d affect me like that,” he said. “More and more, and then I had to go to heavier stuff.”

He’s been coming to the center here for about five months. He has a close relationship with its manager, who's been a bedrock counselor in his recovery.

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

Advocates for the Hope for New Hampshire Recovery center in Berlin are scrambling to save it. The center is one of four slated to close in the next two weeks.

Hope for New Hampshire offers peer-to-peer drug and alcohol recovery services, but the organization announced earlier this week that it’s in a financial bind, and has to close shop everywhere but Manchester.

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.

AP

Congresswoman Annie Kuster says $6 billion in a new budget deal to fight the opioid epidemic is a good start. But she says a longer-term commitment is still missing - and she wants to ensure the funding formula treats smaller states fairly.

 

"It’s certainly more than is in the pipeline right now,” she says. “I think everyone agrees it’s critical that we get funding out on the front line to expand access to treatment and help people in their long-term recovery. We’ve got to get over the hump and save lives and get people back to work.”

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.

Addiction in the Workplace

Feb 11, 2018
Pexels

In the midst of a drug crisis, New Hampshire is also dealing with a severe labor shortage.  So now, some employers and the state hope to creatively address where the two overlap, promoting so-called "recovery friendly workplaces".  We look at the practical, legal, and financial aspects of this. 

AP

New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan say they have helped to secure an agreement to provide an additional $6 billion to respond to the national opioid epidemic over the next two years.

The Democratic senators said Wednesday they also received assurances that the opioid funding formula will be improved to prioritize states like New Hampshire with high mortality rates from overdoses.

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.

A former physician at Valley Regional hospital in Claremont has been charged with sexual assault.

The Claremont Police and Sullivan County Attorney's office announced the arrest of Dr. Eric L. Knight Monday after a months-long investigation.

The New Hampshire Board of Medicine suspended Knight's medical license in September. He was fired from Valley Regional in June.

AP

The obituary, so stark and visceral, captured the public’s attention.

It was for 24-year-old Molly Alice Parks. She died in 2015 of a heroin overdose in the bathroom of her Manchester workplace.

The obit’s final line: “If you have any loved ones who are fighting addiction, Molly’s family asks that you do everything possible to be supportive, and guide them to rehabilitation before it is too late.”

But what if you don’t? What if you’re lucky enough not to have a loved one battling this addiction?

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Merrimack town councilors are set to vote Thursday on whether to create a specialized drug unit within the police force.

The proposal is in response to police reporting an influx of drug use at hotels in town – specifically meth use.

In just two weeks there have been 17 drug arrests, most involving meth.

Police Chief Denise Roy says without a drug unit, the department doesn’t have the time or resources to stop this from getting worse.

Currier Museum to Help Combat Drug Crisis Through Art

Jan 23, 2018
Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The Currier Museum in Manchester is launching a first-of-its-kind arts program to help parents whose children suffer from substance abuse.

As overdoses and deaths continue, New Hampshire physicians are responding to criticism that they've overprescribed. Now, some patients with chronic pain find themselves cut off from access to medications, left without other treatment options, and feeling that the anti-opioid push has gone overboard.

Serenity Place's Downfall Tells Much Larger Story

Jan 17, 2018
Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A crucial treatment provider in the state’s effort to combat the opioid crisis collapsed, with little warning, last month.

But some say this incident has exposed gaps in the state’s ability to oversee a critical system of care.

The city of Rochester is exploring launching a Safe Station program modeled after the one in Manchester.

The idea behind Manchester’s program is that anyone who wants help fighting their addiction can walk into any city fire station, at any time, and get connected with treatment services.

Rochester Mayor Caroline McCarley has been closely following the program and wants it, or something like it, in her city.

Britta Greene / NHPR

Dr. Anna Konopka, a physician in New London, surrendered her medical license in October to settle allegations from the New Hampshire Board of Medicine. Months later, she’s still fighting to reopen her doors.

As her battle plays out in the courts, many of her patients are struggling to find a new primary care doctor. Many of them are low income and reliant on pain medication day-to-day.

File photo

The Governor has called an emergency Executive Council meeting Friday morning to address a key drug treatment provider in Manchester that recently went under due to financial problems.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan says a bill she co-sponsored to help stop the flow of illegal fentanyl into the United States is on its way to the president's desk.

Hassan, a Democrat, says the bipartisan bill will provide scanning devices and other technology to Customs and Border Protection workers, and will boost funding for staff such as scientists to interpret screening results. Senate passage of the bill comes as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report finding that for the first time, fentanyl rather than heroin is now the deadliest opioid drug.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As the state continues to grapple with a drug problem, top state lawmakers are hoping to get businesses to be a part of the solution.

FILE

Overdose deaths remain high, as 2017 comes to a close and state lawmakers are looking to secure more resources for the crisis when they return to the State House in January.

Flickr | frankieleon

Nashua is now the second New Hampshire city to sue pharmaceutical giants over their alleged role fueling the community’s opioid crisis. The city’s complaint is almost identical to one filed on behalf of the city of Manchester in September.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows that New Hampshire had one of the highest drug overdose death rates in the country last year.

file photo

A key player in the state’s fight against drug addiction has gone under financially, after running a deficit of more than half a million dollars.

A new report from UNH's Carsey School of Public Policy is sounding alarm over the growing number of New Hampshire infants born dependent on opioids.

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