In recent weeks Manchester and Nashua have held rallies to highlight New Hampshire's heroin crisis. On Saturday, it was Concord's turn, and among those on hand for the "We Believe In Recovery Rally" was Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie.
"I'm preaching to the converted," the New Jersey governor told the crowd at Concord's White Park of his call for more attention to the issue. Christie said he would be an advocate for families dealing with addiction if elected president, and touted a New Jersey law that expanded drug court programs.
“We’re the first state in the country that says if you’re a first-time drug offender – nonviolent – you don’t go to jail,” Christie said. “You go to mandatory in-patient drug rehabilitation. We should do that all across the country.”
Advocates, families and others have been speaking out about the need for more drug treatment and recovery options as New Hampshire faces the substance abuse crisis. 2nd District Representative Ann Kuster said more residents need to speak out to expand treatment options, which she said have been reduced in recent years.
“This happened because people weren’t paying attention,” Kuster said. “They weren’t attentive to the impact of policy on their lives.”
The goal of Saturday’s rally was to highlight those who have been touched by addiction or recovery. More than 300 people died from drug overdoses in 2014.