Substance Abuse

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

As the heroin crisis in New Hampshire continues, and the number of overdoses grows, communities around the state are looking to address 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.”

Douglas Porter via Flickr CC

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.

Via the Cheshire County website

Gov. Maggie Hassan has tapped a county administrator with a long history of working on drug abuse and mental health issues to lead a new initiative.

Hassan named John "Jack" Wozmak of Walpole the senior director for Substance Misuse and Behavioral Health. In the position — funded by a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation — Wozmak will work with state agencies and others to coordinate the state's substance abuse and related behavioral health policies.

The Economic Impact Of Substance Abuse In N.H.

Dec 17, 2014
Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr/CC

On top of individual suffering, a recent report finds alcohol and drugs also take a toll on workforce productivity and the state’s fiscal well-being -- to the tune of nearly two billion dollars.  The authors say policy makers and business leaders should consider addressing this as way to help bolster the state’s economy.

GUESTS:

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.

Substance Abuse And Addiction: N.H. Discusses

Oct 29, 2014
http://nhlistens.org/sites/nhlistens.org/files/media/pdf/New_Futures_Final_Report_Final_Web.pdf / New Hampshire Listens

It’s no secret that substance abuse is a huge and growing problem across the United States. And although New Hampshire is often ranked healthier than other states, substance abuse is one area in which we fare worse. For example, the Granite State is well above average in terms of binge drinking and prescription drug abuse, and below average in prevention and treatment. And now, a new initiative this year brought together community members in conversations across the state to discuss these problems, and the biggest barriers to addressing them.

The Farnum Center provides treatment to people with substance use disorders. It recently moved to a new facility which includes a new medical detox unit, the only one in the state not connected to a hospital. 

Dr. Cheryl Wilkie works with patients at the center. “We have a five day detox, a 30-day residential treatment center and then outpatient services that follow them as long as they need it.

Vaporizers_ / Flickr Creative Commons

Those hoping for the legalization of marijuana in New Hampshire now say they have momentum on their side, coming from several different directions. First, after years of defeats, supporters saw their first real victory in the Granite State last year when medicinal pot was voted into law. Second, marijuana legalization has now passed in two states, Colorado and Washington. And third, a new legalization bill this year passed the house by a slim margin.

Authorities say heroin use in New Hampshire is growing at an alarming rate. Authorities say 61 people died of heroin overdoses in New Hampshire last year.

The issue has been of particular concern recently in Portsmouth, which saw three individuals overdose on heroin in the same week.

Seacoast Online reports 37 year old Simone Sclafani died Wednesday after being rushed to the hospital. Police have not commented on the conditions of the other two overdose victims.

bobmendo / Flickr Creative Commons

A new report paints a complex picture, including that the number of un-sheltered homeless has jumped by twenty percent over the past year.  We’ll look once again at this stubborn problem and ongoing efforts to address it.

GUESTS:

epSos.de / Flickr/Creative Commons

Serenity Place is a substance abuse recovery center in Manchester, offering detox programs and education to those struggling to overcome addiction. For Stephanie, Serenity Place provided a solid foundation for her recovery from drug and alcohol problems.

New Hampshire ranks 5th in the nation for binge drinking and regular marijuana use among young adults.  That’s according to numbers released this month by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.  But the federal government has awarded some communities grants to focus on prevention.

epSos.de / Flickr/Creative Commons

Serenity Place is a substance abuse recovery center in Manchester, offering detox programs and education to those struggling to overcome addiction. For Stephanie, Serenity Place provided a solid foundation for her recovery from drug and alcohol problems.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

New Hampshire consistently ranks as one of the healthiest states in the nation. But advocates say that masks an alarming rate of substance abuse, specifically among young adults.

And so, the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse is launching a new campaign to highlight the need for more resources.

Specifically, they want to see a greater percent of sales from state-owned liquor stores be allocated for counseling services.

For the past decade, lawmakers have instead used those funds to help balance the budget.

As a volunteer at the Phoenix House Academy of Dublin, 21-year-old Sofia Capria helps teenagers battle drug and alcohol addiction — just as she did herself three years ago.

"Right away, I was hooked," Sofia says of her own drug use, which began at age 11. But for her, the road to recovery wasn't easy.

The treatment of female prison inmates in New Hampshire is raising questions of civil rights violations. After a two year investigation, that’s the conclusion reached by the New Hampshire Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Commission reports that male inmates enjoy greater opportunities in everything from vocational training to mental health services.

JerriAnne Boggis didn’t have to see anything at the Women’s Prison to know about the problems in Goffstown.