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Politicians, Law Enforcement Say Early Childhood Intervention is Key in N.H.'s Opioid Fight

Paige Sutherland/NHPR
Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen play with one of the kids in Manchester's Head Start Program on Friday

National politicians, local law enforcement and education officials met in Manchester Friday to promote the importance of early childhood education in the state’s fight against opioids.

When it comes to drug prevention, education efforts tend to start in middle or high school. But advocates say it should start much sooner.

Studies show people with troubled childhoods are two to four times more likely to use drugs later in life.

Director of Southern NH Services Donnalee Lozeau says her staff is seeing the effects of the opioid epidemic on a daily basis.

“We see an increase in grandparents raising their grandchildren, homelessness going up when families are hit with this, children’s behavior in the classroom are very different," Lozeau said.

“This opioid crisis and what it’s doing to children is very different and it’s impacting in a way that we haven’t seen before,” she said.

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan vowed Friday to fight for more money for these early childhood programs in Washington. And Governor Sununu has said he’d make this a priority in the next statewide plan to address this crisis.

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