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In Laconia, Clinton Appaulds City's Efforts to Combat Opioid Addiction

Paige Sutherland/NHPR
Hillary Clinton hosts community forum about substance abuse at Boys and Girls Club in Laconia Thursday.

Hillary Clinton hosted a community forum in Laconia Thursday, where she sat beside local leaders actively involved in the fight against opioid addiction.

Clinton applauded Laconia for its work in this battle, telling a crowd at the city's Boys and Girls Club that the fight against addiction needs to start at the community level.

That’s why the Democratic candidate’s substance abuse plan includes a proposal that the federal government give states four dollars for every dollar they spend on fighting drug addiction.

“The bulk of it goes to try to incentivize states and communities to do more, following the example of Vermont and others communities like Laconia, to actually invest their own dollars for every dollar the federal government would invest, to do what we know works,” she told the several dozen people in the crowd.

Clinton’s $10 billion plan, released earlier this month, also proposes increased access to treatment, more guidelines for opioid prescribers and stronger pathways for addicts to get to rehab rather than prison.

Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, who has endorsed Clinton’s presidential bid, was also in attendance. Shumlin told the crowd about the importance of collaboration among law enforcement and communities. That same philosophy is now being implemented in Laconia. The city police department has added a new officer position that will be assigned to every overdose call in the city -- not to make an arrest, but to direct people to places where they can find help.

Clinton also spoke about how her focus on substance abuse is rooted in New Hampshire, during her first campaign stop in Keene. At a furniture factory, the former Secretary of State, told the crowd she expected to be asked about how she would create more manufacturing jobs, increase the minimum wage or reel in college tuition – but instead she was asked about addiction.

“The very first question was what will you do about the heroin epidemic and I said, 'Tell me about it.' And that began a series of conversations not only here in New Hampshire but other places as well,” she said.

Clinton will campaign in the state through the weekend. On Friday, she’ll be at the University of New Hampshire, where Governor Maggie Hassan will officially endorse her.

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