Substance Abuse

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A substance abuse treatment facility in Franklin, Farnum North, has added 42 more inpatient beds. And with help from donations, the center can now start treating patients who lack insurance. 

Heroin
Courtesy of MPD

  US Senator Kelly Ayotte says a bill in Congress to address opioid abuse could provide a big boost to treatment and prevention efforts in New Hampshire. 

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Starting this month, the state’s more than 140,000 Medicaid recipients are eligible for substance abuse disorder benefits.

The expansion went into effect Friday.

The benefit was already available to the 49,000 people who enrolled as part of the state’s Medicaid expansion program launched two years ago.

Lawmakers reauthorized the program earlier this year.

Prescribing Opioids During an Addiction Epidemic

Apr 14, 2016
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State lawmakers, doctors, and others in the medical profession have been hammering out new guidelines for prescribing these drugs to tackle the issue of over-use and alleviate the addiction crisis. We'll get the latest on this discussion and also find out how New Hampshire's approach compares with other states.

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Designed to reduce the spread of disease by distributing clean needles to drug users, needle exchange programs can also provide outreach and referral for treatment.  Now, a bill in the legislature would allow these centers in New Hampshire. And while there's general support, concerns include whether to decriminalize trace amounts of heroin.

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

New Hampshire is set to receive $1.2 million dollars to help community health centers deal with opioid abuse. 

  New Hampshire US Senator Kelly Ayotte is using this week's Republican response to President Obama to highlight the opioid crisis. 

Addressing N.H.'s Addiction Counselor Shortage

Mar 1, 2016
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As overdose deaths skyrocket,  there's been a statewide call for more access to drug treatment, and more funding for it.  But treatment centers are scrambling to find and keep enough trained staff to meet the demand.  Chronic issues, such as low pay and bureaucracy add to the burden of helping a patient through recovery.

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One of New Hampshire's top experts on the opioid crisis will be on hand for President Obama's State of the Union address. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire will receive a big influx of federal dollars to treat addiction and mental illness.

The state will get up to $30 million a year for five years total. And for example, this year it would mean about an added 25 percent on top of what the state has budgeted for mental health and addiction.

That's a big gain for the state says Steve Norton, the executive director of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Services.  But the devil's in the details: like how the money will be spent and how any new services will be evaluated.

NHPR Staff

  

A panel of lawmakers will meet in Concord as part of a legislative task force formed to address the state's growing heroin abuse crisis.

The finance and appropriations panel of the task force is set to meet Tuesday at the State House.

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When discussing New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic, the focus is often on the big numbers — the hundreds of drug deaths, the thousands of pain prescriptions, the weeks it can take to get treatment.

But at the first meeting of a new task force looking at the issue in New Hampshire, those who testified brought those statistics to a personal level.

File Photo / NHPR

 

 Senator Jeanne Shaheen is calling for an additional $600 million in emergency federal funding to tackle opioid and heroin misuse across the country — and she says, as in previous public health crises, the federal government needs to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to this issue.

“We’re really looking at, how can we have a coordinated effort? The federal government did that in fighting Ebola. They’ve done that in other health emergencies,” Shaheen said. “We’re saying that this is a health emergency, and we need to ramp in the same way to fight it on all fronts.”

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Approved by a special legislative session, a newly minted task force will spend the next weeks considering several options for tackling the state’s drug problem, which has claimed more than five hundred lives in the last two years. The goal is to craft legislation quickly -- in time for the January return of the legislature.

GUESTS:F

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With all of the recent posturing at the State House, it might be easy to assume that Gov. Maggie Hassan and Republicans in the Legislature are having trouble finding common ground on how best to tackle substance abuse. But, as lawmakers gear up for a special session devoted to New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic, that’s not necessarily the case.

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Gov. Maggie Hassan is asking lawmakers to return to Concord nearly two months early to begin working on legislation aimed to help those battling drug addiction. 

Chris Jensen/NHPR

Here's an issue with bipartisan consensus: Both parties agree the opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing challenges facing New Hampshire. But Democrats and Republicans in the State House are not quite yet reading from the same script on how to tackle this problem.

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Kelly Ayotte that’s meant to address one particularly troubling side effect of the nation’s opioid crisis: growing drug dependence among infants.

The bill requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review how it deals with “neonatal abstinence syndrome” (or “NAS”). It also calls upon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help states improve public health monitoring and data collection around NAS.

Farnum Center

The N.H. Department of Health and Human Services is making changes to its licensing requirements for in-patient drug and alcohol treatment centers in order to address a statewide shortage of beds.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

  In recent weeks Manchester and Nashua have held rallies to highlight New Hampshire's heroin crisis. On Saturday, it was Concord's turn, and among those on hand for the "We Believe In Recovery Rally" was Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie. 

"I'm preaching to the converted," the New Jersey governor told the crowd at Concord's White Park of his call for more attention to the issue. Christie said he would be an advocate for families dealing with addiction if elected president, and touted a New Jersey law that expanded drug court programs. 

Sara Plourde / NHPR

  This week officials at Memorial Hospital in North Conway announced they would establish a prenatal care program for opioid-dependent patients – mothers and babies affected by the opioid crisis. This program is set to open in early 2016, and it’s similar to a program that’s underway at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Southeastern New Hampshire Services in Dover offers inpatient substance abuse treatment along the same stretch of County Farm Road as a nursing home and a day care center.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Presidential candidates usually hit the campaign trail carrying a long list of issues they hope to talk about. But lately, voters in New Hampshire have been forcing an issue of their own into candidates’ stump speeches: the state’s ongoing opioid crisis.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

 

As the demand for substance abuse treatment increases, Gov. Maggie Hassan and state health officials are calling for a review of state licensing requirements at treatment centers around New Hampshire.

A working group led by state health officials is being tasked with finding ways to speed up licensing for new centers and must report its findings by Sept. 30. The state review follows a call from Sen. Kelly Ayotte for the federal government to ease costly requirements from some residential treatment centers.

Tamara Keith / NPR

Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in Keene yesterday to discuss what she has called a "quiet epidemic" in New Hampshire, substance abuse.

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.

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New Hampshire substance abuse treatment advocates met in Concord Thursday for their annual meeting, where members highlight the successes of the past year. But this year's meeting was focused on the year ahead and how the current state budget debate might shape their future.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

As the heroin crisis in New Hampshire continues, and the number of overdoses grows, communities around the state are addressing the issues with increasing urgency.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A panel that included the step-mother of a woman who died of a heroin overdose told a House committee Thursday that proposed cuts in substance-abuse programs will exacerbate the state’s alarming rise in drug-related deaths.

“Last year, it was 321,” said Tym Rourke, chair of the Governor’s Commission on Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. “Next year it could be 600 and the year after that, 800.”

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New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a bill that would give people who report alcohol or drug overdoses immunity from criminal prosecution in certain situations.

A Senate committee is taking testimony on a bill, already passed by the House, on Tuesday. Senators earlier this year sent a similar bill for more study. The bill's sponsors say their intent is to encourage witnesses and victims of drug overdoses to seek medical attention that could save a life.

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