New Hampshire is ranked second in the nation for the number of opioid related deaths, with the numbers increasing at alarming levels.
New Hampshire also has the 2nd lowest rate of spending on the treatment and prevention of opioid use, along with a lack of access to the life-saving drug Narcan. Additionally, those prescribing opioids are not required to consult a database, which would provide a red flag when an individual has a history of acquiring opioids.
While it is imperative to get drug dealers off of the streets and to hold them accountable, jail time has not proven to be an effective solution to drug addiction. In fact, this often compounds the problem as addicted individuals find it even tougher to find employment with a criminal record.
There are several communities in NH which have implemented effective prevention programs, including Laconia and Manchester. Laconia has a full-time prevention coordinator, which has been successful in getting drug addicted individuals into treatment. Manchester Fire has a program called Safe Station, with doors open 24 hours a day for those seeking help. In one year, the program has drawn over 1,600 people, which enables drug addicted individuals a safe haven until they are able to learn about treatment options. These are the kinds of programs that need to be replicated throughout the state.