Crossroad

Crossroad explores how government, the healthcare system and local communities are responding to New Hamphire’s addiction crisis. We're using data and scientific research, as well as reporting from the front lines to examine how lawmakers and other officials are working to expand treatment, address the causes of addiction and save lives.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As part of NHPR's Crossroad: The N.H. Opioid Reporting Project, The Exchange went on the road on February 7, 2019 to the Nashua Public Library for a live discussion on how the city is taking a multi-pronged approach to tackle the opioid crisis. 

This discussion was recorded at the Nashua Public Library on February 7th, and an edited version of the conversation airs on NHPR on Thursday, February 14th at 9 a.m. and again at 7 p.m.

The full conversation is available below. You can find the edited conversation here

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Eight organizations have applied for a share of nearly $1 million in public funds aimed at helping New Hampshire’s business community address the opioid crisis.  

The organizations, mostly non-profit recovery groups, are looking to use the money to offer training to local businesses on how to support workers struggling with drug or alcohol addictions, according to the Community Development Finance Authority, which is distributing the grants.

Sara Plourde / New Hampshire Public Radio

More than 350 people connected with services through the Doorway – the state’s new addiction treatment system – in the program’s first month, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

That figure includes individuals who appeared in person at one of nine regional offices, also called “hubs,” as well as those who called the statewide 2-1-1 hotline for help.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

State health officials say New Hampshire's new system for addiction treatment will be a game changer in terms of people’s ability to access information and care, especially around problems with opioid use.

But the system, known as The Doorway, is only a few weeks old, and treatment providers are still trying to figure out how all the logistics will work. As NHPR's Britta Greene reports, they're turning to their counterparts in Vermont for advice. 

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

A bill in the New Hampshire Legislature could put more attention on young people affected by the opioid epidemic.

House Bill 111 would establish a committee to study the effect of the opioid crisis and domestic violence on children and recommend possible legislation to address it.

 

joycecraig.org

As New Hampshire rolls out its new statewide addiction care system, leaders in Manchester continues their effort toward combating the opioid crisis in the Southern part of the state.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig on how the Queen City is working to find new ways to address the epidemic.

Craig attended the Mayors Institute on Opioids City Team Cohort Meeting in Nashville this week, where she met with other city leaders.

(Editor's note: this transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

Sarah Gibson / New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire continues to rank among the hardest-hit states in the opioid crisis. Gov. Chris Sununu and state health officials are now investing heavily in a new system they say will significantly improve care for those struggling with addiction. This so-called "hub and spoke" plan kicks off at the start of the new year. Now, with that launch date just weeks away, NHPR’s Britta Greene and Sarah Gibson having been reporting on how the effort is taking shape. 

Emergency departments in Claremont and Manchester are testing out a new approach to addiction treatment for opioid users, collaborating on a federally funded study with Bellevue Hospital in New York City.

In most hospitals across the country, patients presenting with complications from drug use, or having overdosed, are treated for their immediate concerns but referred elsewhere for help with their addiction.

Increasingly, physicians say this is not the most effective approach.

UNH's nurse practitioner programs will now include training in medication-assisted treatments for addiction.

Nurse practitioners, like doctors, can write prescriptions and can serve as a patient's primary care provider. Thanks to a new $450,000 federal grant, nurse practitioner students at UNH will now be trained in how to use medication to treat addiction.

Gene Harkless is the chair of the UNH department of nursing. She says the new program will increase the amount of addiction treatment available in the state as communities continue to grapple with the opioid epidemic.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

The Executive Council on Wednesday approved contracts for new addiction hubs across the state, sending millions of dollars in federal funds to local hospitals to build out resources for those struggling with substance use.

FILE

New Hampshire has a shortage of people volunteering as court appointed special advocates. These volunteers help abused and neglected children through the court processes.  

In 2015, the agency was able to accept 90 percent of family court cases. This past year, it was just able to accept 65 percent.

Manchester Fire Department

Representatives with a number of different federal agencies tasked with responding to the opioid crisis were in Nashua Thursday for a conference on the city’s Safe Station program.

The event, co-sponsored by Nashua-based Harbor Homes and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, aimed to share results and best practices of the Safe Station model.

Several hundred people were in attendance.   

FILE

Federal prosecutors in Hillsborough County have begun to toughen penalties for fentanyl traffickers as part of a nationwide program called  "Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Surge pilot program during a stop in Concord this summer.

josh rogers / nhpr

Hospitals will operate seven of the nine hubs at the center of the Sununu administration's newly designed approach to treating substance abuse. But despite the promise of millions of dollars in aid, no hospitals in Manchester or Nashua chose to participate in the program.

Daniela Allee / NHPR

Harvard Pilgrim is now offering Narcan trainings for businesses using their health insurance. Their first ever training was in Concord on Friday at Riverbend Community Mental Health.

Eleven employees attended the training on how to use Narcan, the nasal spray that helps reverse an opioid overdose.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan were in Manchester on Tuesday to discuss a major opioid bill awaiting President Trump's signature.

The U.S. Senate passed the sweeping legislation, called the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, last week. 

Josh Rogers for NHPR

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams stressed the role the overdose reversing drug Naloxone needs to play in reducing opioid deaths. Adams was in Concord to address an opioid forum convened by Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Adams told a ballroom full of people steeped in New Hampshire's opioid epidemic that a lethal drug overdose takes place every 11 seconds in America, and that 50 percent of them happen at home.

Adams says the numbers underscore the need for more people to make a habit of carrying medicine that can undo overdoses.

NHPR Photo

Seven hospitals across New Hampshire have now committed to serving as regional hubs, forming the backbone of the state’s new framework for addiction treatment, Health Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers said Wednesday.

State officials have been in negotiations with hospitals for weeks over the scope of services required under their new “hub and spoke” plan. 

The state has chosen Granite Pathways to operate a new substance use disorder treatment facility for teenagers on the grounds of the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.

The Executive Council approved a four-year contract with the group during its meeting on Wednesday, with services expected to begin in early November.

The 36-bed facility will be open to children ages 12-18 who are in need of inpatient treatment, making it the first residential program for minors in the state.

A drug recovery center in Rochester is back open after the city ordered it shut down Friday, citing a zoning violation.

The center, one of two locations run by SOS Recovery, operates out of a local church.

Taking A Toll: The Opioid Crisis And N.H.'s Children

Sep 21, 2018
CCO Public Domain

We follow up on the recent series by NHPR's Morning Edition team, called "Taking A Toll," on the opioid epidemic's affect on kids. The series looked at a range of impacts on children and also talked to a wide array of Granite Staters who are trying to help. 

GUESTS: 

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.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Morning Edition is taking a look at how the opioid epidemic is affecting children – and the people and programs who support them – in New Hampshire.

It's part of NHPR's Crossroad series, examining the impacts of addiction in New Hampshire.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley met with Carol Eyman at the Nashua Public Library. Eyman is the outreach coordinator for the library, which has begun to partner with the city and non-profits to help children in the opioid crisis. Eyman says these days, libraries can be about much more than books and DVDs.

AP

Morning Edition is taking a look at how the opioid epidemic is affecting children – and the people and programs who support them – in New Hampshire.

It's part of NHPR's Crossroad series, examining the impacts of addiction in New Hampshire.

The Center for Recovery Resources, a Claremont recovery center, will celebrate its grand opening Thursday.

The event marks the culmination of a months-long effort to keep peer recovery services in Claremont.  The city lost its only provider, Hope for New Hampshire, earlier this year.

NHPR File

Morning Edition is taking a look at how the opioid epidemic is affecting children – and the people and programs who support them – in New Hampshire.

It's part of NHPR's Crossroad series, examining the impacts of addiction in New Hampshire.

Tim Lena works for the Timberlane Regional School District, where he coordinates student assistance programs that can help identify students who are showing signs of needing help with substance use issues.

A lawsuit brought by the state against pharmaceutical giant Purdue will head to trial, after a state judge denied the drug makers request to dismiss the case.

The New Hampshire Attorney General sued Purdue last year, claiming the company used unfair marketing tactics to push doctors to prescribe highly addictive opioids. In a motion filed in Merrimack County Superior Court, Purdue had asked a judge to toss out the state's suit.

But the judge on Tuesday denied that request.

NHPR File Photo

 

The U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation last night targeting the misuse of opioids and other addictive drugs.

 

The measure would increase scrutiny of arriving international mail that may include illegal drugs. It would also make it easier for the National Institutes of Health to approve research on finding nonaddictive painkillers.

 

Department of Human Health and Services

Morning Edition is taking a look at how the opioid epidemic is affecting children - and the people and programs who support them -  in New Hampshire. It's part of NHPR's Crossroad series, examining the impacts of addiction in New Hampshire.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

On Morning Edition, NHPR is taking a look at how the opioid epidemic is taking a toll on children in New Hampshire.

One person who's charged with thinking about that every day is Moira O'Neill, the state's Child Advocate. Her office independently oversees the Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), the state's child welfare system.

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