N.H. Lawmakers Approve $20 Million Of Federal Opioid Funding

Sep 21, 2018

The Legislative Fiscal Committee approved nearly $20 million in federal funds to combat the opioid epidemic.
Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR

New Hampshire is one step closer to overhauling its infrastructure for combatting the opioid epidemic.

State lawmakers on Friday approved nearly $20 million in federal money to bolster treatment and recovery programs over the next 10 months.

The funding was announced last month, and becomes official this week. The state must start spending it within 90 days.

Nearly $9 million will go toward developing a hub-and-spoke model with hospitals serving as the go-to spot for someone seeking help for addiction.

[Special Series: Taking a Toll: How the Opioid Crisis is Affecting N.H. Children]

Weare Rep. Neal Kurk, chairman of the Legislature's Fiscal Committee, worries this new funding doesn't tackle the root cause of substance abuse.

"If we do nothing more but treat individuals with this illness, we will be doing this forever," he said. "We need to prevent people from becoming addicted in the first place."

Kurk says he hopes the infusion of federal money for treatment will allow New Hampshire to redirect its funds to prevention programs.