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Governor Sununu Joins Forces in the Fight Against Addiction Stigma

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Gov. Chris Sununu helped to announce a new partnership on Wednesday aimed at reducing the stigma of addiction.   

Speak Up New Hampshire is the latest campaign from the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Hampshire. Joined by the Bureau for Drug and Alcohol Services, the Governor’s Commission, and various addiction treatment and prevention organizations, the Partnership is now concentrating on reducing the stigma of addiction in the Granite State.

Governor Sununu, bouncing a three-month old baby who lives with her mother at the residential recovery facility Hope on Haven Hill, explained the importance of speaking to communities affected by addiction in order to best tailor statewide initiatives like “Speak Up.”

"You would not have seen a problem like this even just four years ago," Sununu said, "All these folks standing here in the State House talking about, how do we change the stigma of it, right? Again, it’s nothing I’ve gone through directly myself. So the best thing I can do is continuously go out there, talk to folks, make sure I understand their stories, their perspective, what they’ve gone through. And then we can bring that information back. Whether it’s to other elected officials or programs like this."

The campaign hopes to change the vocabulary used to talk about addiction, spread awareness of the medical facts of the disease, and combat stigma by sharing stories of recovery. They’ve developed television and radio spots, as well as stickers, wristbands and t-shirts to help spread awareness.

Hannah McCarthy first came to NHPR an intern in 2015, returned as a Fellow the following year and then bounced around as a reporter and producer before landing as co-host of Civics 101. She has reported on everything from the opioid epidemic to State House politics to haunted woods of New Hampshire.

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