Crossroad

Crossroad: The NH Opioid Reporting Project 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.

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.

Sarah Gibson / New Hampshire Public Radio

Researchers at Dartmouth have completed a months-long study of Manchester's Safe Station program.

The city’s fire department started the effort about two and a half years ago as way to open their doors to those struggling with addiction.

Since then, they’ve logged more than 4,000 intakes, according to Chief Dan Goonan.

The National Institutes of Health was interested in formally documenting how the program works, as cities across the country are looking to replicate the model, said Lisa Marsch, with Dartmouth.

Sarah Gibson / New Hampshire Public Radio

For years, New Hampshire has relied on a largely patchwork strategy to address the opioid crisis, funding grassroots efforts community by community. That means an individual’s access to services depends a lot on where he or she lives. Now, state officials want to change that. But implementing a new, statewide system is easier said than done. In some cases it will mean replacing initiatives that already exist.

AP

Plymouth State University has received a grant from the federal government to train its clinical mental health students in treating substance abuse.

The $400,000 will go towards two things: paying students a $10,000 stipend when they intern at a partner health center, and providing training and conference funding for students and faculty.

Robin Hausheer is an assistant professor at Plymouth State. She says there's a shortage of mental health care workers across the state. And those folks are key in meeting the needs of people struggling with substance abuse.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Businesses that have signed on to Governor Chris Sununu's Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative will be attending regional orientations this month. 

The goal of the initiative is to get the private sector involved in addressing the opioid crisis, namely by hiring and supporting workers who are struggling with addiction.

The plan's been in the works for months, but so far details of how it'll actually work have been slim. Still, about 30 businesses have signed on, according to Jill Burke, with the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Hope for New Hampshire – an operator of drug recovery centers that received $600,000 in last-minute state funds this spring to maintain two locations outside its base in Manchester – has now closed one of those locations, in Franklin.

The Claremont school board voted Wednesday to allow a needle exchange program to operate at Valley Regional Hospital. The program needed board sign-off because of the hospital’s proximity to a local elementary zone.

Students at Dartmouth’s medical school will staff the exchange, which will likely open this fall or winter, said Valley Regional CEO Peter Wright.

It’s one of only a handful of programs to crop up across the state since New Hampshire legalized needle exchanges in 2017 in an effort to reduce the spread of infectious disease.

Bryan Pocius / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been running checkpoints in New Hampshire more frequently under the Trump administration, setting up on Interstate 93 near the small towns of Woodstock and Lincoln.

The stated goal of these stops is enforcing immigration law, and to that end, they have been fairly successful. Agents have arrested more than 50 people over the past two years who they determined to be in the country illegally. 

But those in support of the stops are often quick to turn attention to a topic other than immigration: drugs and the state’s opioid crisis.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

The national pharmaceutical trade group PhRMA is joining New Hampshire organizations to combat the opioid crisis. The new effort is called the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) New Hampshire.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Berlin is the latest city to join a massive lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for their alleged role in the opioid crisis.

Lawyers representing Berlin filed a 284-page petition in federal court on Friday accusing a group of pharmaceutical companies of stoking the opioid crisis by misleading doctors and patients about the risks of addiction posed by drugs including OxyContin.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Governor Chris Sununu and state Health Commissioner Jeff Meyers on Wednesday announced a major overhaul of New Hampshire's addiction treatment infrastructure.

The state will funnel tens of millions in newly available federal funds into a coordinated system of care that tracks patients for months, if not years, through their recovery. The funds, expected to total roughly $46 million over a two-year period, were made available through the federal budget deal earlier this year.

NHPR File Photo

New Hampshire has until mid-August to submit a plan for how to spend $23 million in response to the opioid epidemic.

There is so much interest that a public input session scheduled for tonight in Concord was booked to capacity before it began.

 

Federal prosecutors are focusing their efforts on Hillsborough County, including the cities of Manchester and Nashua, in a new crackdown on synthetic opioid dealers.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the effort, called Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (SOS for short), during a stop in Concord last week.

It’s a nationwide push, targeting a single county in each of 10 districts in the U.S. -- areas that have been hardest hit by the drug crisis.

NHPR File Photo

The state health department is hosting a public meeting in Concord a week from today for input on how to allocate a big increase in federal funds toward the opioid crisis. 

The money is coming to the state as part of the most recent Congressional budget deal.

Local officials now have less than a month to decide how it will be spent.

Members of the public can submit feedback by email through July 27. 

NHPR File Photo

Speaking at the U.S. District Court in Concord on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a surge in federal enforcement efforts around synthetic opioids. 

AP

The Executive Council green-lighted additional state funds for drug recovery centers Wednesday.

In February, one of the state's largest operators of such facilities, Hope for New Hampshire Recovery announced it needed to roll-back its services across the state to stabilize its balance sheet. That included closing centers in Claremont and Concord.

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