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Shaheen Unveils $63 Billion Plan to Combat Drug Addiction

Jason Moon / NHPR

Senator Jeanne Shaheen has unveiled a new bill that would spend more than $63 billion over the next 10 years to combat substance use disorder nationwide.

The bill would provide a significant boost to the State Opioid Response treatment grants that states receive from the federal government. 

It would also loosen the restrictions on how that money could be spent. Speaking at press conference in Concord Friday morning, Shaheen noted that many of the people reaching out to New Hampshire's new hub-and-spoke treatment network are suffering from alcohol addiction, not opioid addiction.

“We need to make sure that services can be provided to anybody who walks in the door, regardless of the substance use disorder that they're suffering from,” said Shaheen.

The bill would also create a new grant program based on Manchester’s Adverse Childhood Emergency Response Team which helps children exposed to trauma as a result of opioid use by family members.

It would also increase Medicaid rates for substance use disorder and behavioral health treatment.

It would also invest millions in a loan repayment program for health care workers in an effort to address a workforce shortage.

Shaheen noted 470 people in New Hampshire died from drug overdoses last year.

“We can't let those kinds of numbers be the new normal. And it really shows how much work we all still have to do,” said Shaheen.

While the bill has the backing of various substance use advocacy groups in the state, so far Shaheen is the bill's only sponsor in the Senate.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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