Crossroad

NHPR reports on the impact of substance abuse and addiction in New Hampshire.

University of New Hampshire's Carsey School of Public Policy

Opioid overdose rates are rising rapidly in rural counties, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy.

Rates remain higher overall in urban areas, but have jumped more quickly outside of city centers, researchers found. They looked at two decades of death data collected by the Centers for Disease Control. 

AP

New Hampshire will soon see a more than seven-fold increase in federal funds aimed at combatting the opioid crisis, up from about $3 million to $23 million for the fiscal year ending September 30.

Overdose deaths in New Hampshire ticked up slightly last year, the vast majority opioid-related, according to new data from the state's medical examiner.

A total of 487 people died from drug use in 2017, up from 485 in 2016.

The uptick is small relative to several years of rapid growth, but still reflects the state's highest figure in well over a decade. 

Per-capita overdose deaths in New Hampshire are among the highest in the nation.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a chief architect of the state's new Medicaid expansion program, is pushing back against financial concerns raised by mental health and substance abuse treatment providers.

Courtesy of Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine

Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine is launching new research looking at the effectiveness of treatment programs for pregnant women struggling with opioid abuse.

Standard care for this population involves both prenatal care and addiction treatment, including a medication like Suboxone or methadone to stop the symptoms of withdrawal.

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A recent study found that New Hampshire reduced opioid prescriptions by 15% last year, the largest drop in the country.  How have physicians changed how they prescribe opiods in acute, and chronic care settings?

Sara Plourde

Over the past few months, more than a dozen New Hampshire towns, cities and counties have filed lawsuits against major drug makers, accusing the companies of ignoring signs that their products were fueling an epidemic of addiction.

The lawsuits represent the latest turn in a story that has hit New Hampshire harder than much of the rest of the country. Here’s an overview of where things stand, and where they may be headed.

Britta Greene / NHPR

New Hampshire health officials decided to prioritize a specific demographic this year when allocating scarce federal funds toward the opioid epidemic: pregnant and newly post-partum women.

The choice reflects stark statistics both in New Hampshire and across the country. 

Sheryl Rich-Kern / NHPR

Grandparents have always played a meaningful part in their grandchildren’s lives. But in the face of the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire, more are taking on the role of full-time caregivers.  And that means they have to prepare – emotionally and financially – to raise young kids at a time when most of their peers are slowing down.

As part of NHPR's Crossroad series, which examines the impact of substance abuse on the Granite State, NHPR Contributor Sheryl Rich-Kern visited one grand-family in Rochester.

NHPR

Intravenous drug users who share needles run the risk of catching deadly diseases.

Some organizations offer clean needles as well as safe ways to dispose of used ones.

Recently, Nashua's Division of Public Health and Community Services launched the Syringe Services Alliance of Nashua Area, which aims to bring this service to parts of Southern New Hampshire, and officials say it's making an impact.

AP

Keene is the latest in a string of New Hampshire cities to sue pharmaceutical giants over their alleged role fueling the opioid crisis. Nashua and Manchester have filed similar lawsuits, as have hundreds of communities across the country.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

The New Hampshire House of Representatives dealt a blow Thursday to one of Governor Chris Sununu’s key priorities on the opioid front, the Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative.

The effort aims to link the private sector to the drug crisis by helping businesses better attract and retain people in recovery.

It was significant news when Hope for New Hampshire announced in February it was closing four of its five recovery centers around the state. Hope was one of the biggest operators of these facilities, which are widely recognized as a critical support for people in recovery.

Since then, after a scramble to secure more public funds and a big effort in some communities to keep services running, just one of those original four locations remains closed for good. That’s in Concord.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Rhode Island has become the first state to sign on to a new drug recovery initiative that Governor Chris Sununu is promoting on the national scale.

Should N.H. Consider Safe Injection Sites?

Mar 27, 2018
Wikimedia

With New Hampshire struggling in the midst of an opioid crisis, we look at a controversial idea - creating safe places for addicts to inject drugs without fear of infected needles and with access to overdose medication. Several cities in the U.S. and Canada are considering this form of what's called "harm reduction" as a way to address rising overdose rates as well as the public health crisis.  But it is a controversial idea, seen by others as indulging and encouraging addiction.  

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation is cheering a significant increase in federal funds for fighting the opioid epidemic included in the federal spending deal released Wednesday. The draft bill contains an additional $3 billion over 2017 funding levels to fight opioid and mental health crises nationally.

“These federal dollars will deliver the material assistance that is desperately needed for prevention, treatment, recovery, law enforcement and first responders,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen in a statement Thursday.  

Opioid Crisis is Taking A Toll on Those On the Frontlines

Mar 19, 2018
Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The drug crisis in New Hampshire has left its mark on thousands of people - those struggling with addiction, their families, friends and co-workers.

But increasing attention is being paid to another group bearing a burden from the epidemic: first responders and those working in the recovery field.

b / New Hampshire Public Radio

State officials are working on a deal to secure funding for drug recovery services in Sullivan County. That’s after the major provider in the region, Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, announced it was rolling back its offerings last month.

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A new non-profit organization wants to open an addiction recovery center in Concord–in space that was only recently occupied by a different drug abuse recovery group.

Hope for New Hampshire Recovery announced last month that it would be closing its Concord office, along with three other locations around the state.

Since then, the state and others have come forward with funding for all the other centers, at least in the short-term, but not for the Concord center. Its Concord location closed its doors March 2. 

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

The Executive Council unanimously approved $600,000 for Manchester-based Hope for New Hampshire Recovery Wednesday, despite a recent audit finding the organization has failed to comply with state contracts in the past.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

More than half a million dollars in new state funding for a major operator of recovery centers is up in the air ahead of a key Executive Council vote Wednesday morning. 

That’s after the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday released an audit of the organization, Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, detailing financial and operational concerns.

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

A state audit of one of the largest operators of drug recovery centers in New Hampshire has pointed to multiple problems with the organization's financial and operational policies, as well as failure to meet certain billing and reporting requirements. 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

When you think about New Hampshire’s opioid crisis, Manchester and Nashua tend to come to mind. That’s because they’ve been getting most of the attention…and resources.

But as NHPR’s Paige Sutherland reports, smaller towns in the Northern part of the state are battling this crisis too…and struggling to do so.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Craig Perry stopped by the Claremont office of Hope for New Hampshire Recovery on Thursday afternoon. He struggled with addiction for a good chunk of his 20s, but now, at 30 years old, he’s been clean for about a year and a half.

His drug problems started when he took his first job after college, he said. He’d get high on lunch breaks.  “I didn’t know it’d affect me like that,” he said. “More and more, and then I had to go to heavier stuff.”

He’s been coming to the center here for about five months. He has a close relationship with its manager, who's been a bedrock counselor in his recovery.

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

Advocates for the Hope for New Hampshire Recovery center in Berlin are scrambling to save it. The center is one of four slated to close in the next two weeks.

Hope for New Hampshire offers peer-to-peer drug and alcohol recovery services, but the organization announced earlier this week that it’s in a financial bind, and has to close shop everywhere but Manchester.

NHPR File Photo

New Hampshire's largest operator of drug recovery centers is closing all but one of its locations, citing financial struggles.

Hope for New Hampshire Recovery offers support services for people struggling with drug addiction. But the organization announced Tuesday it'll close four centers: in Franklin, Concord, Claremont, and Berlin.

Those centers will close by the end of the month. It'll keep its doors open only in Manchester. That's its original -- and largest -- location.  

AP

Congresswoman Annie Kuster says $6 billion in a new budget deal to fight the opioid epidemic is a good start. But she says a longer-term commitment is still missing - and she wants to ensure the funding formula treats smaller states fairly.

 

"It’s certainly more than is in the pipeline right now,” she says. “I think everyone agrees it’s critical that we get funding out on the front line to expand access to treatment and help people in their long-term recovery. We’ve got to get over the hump and save lives and get people back to work.”

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire’s substance abuse crisis is often linked with a single type of drug: opioids. But another illicit drug is rising in use. That’s methamphetamines.

Over the past three years, meth cases have more than doubled each year in the state.

NHPR’s Paige Sutherland reports from one Southern New Hampshire town where meth use is raising particular concern.

NHPR Photo

 

New Hampshire’s "drug czar" says the recent collapse of Manchester’s Safe Station treatment provider has revealed gaps in the state's care.

N.H.'s 2nd Needle Exchange Program to Open in Nashua

Jan 25, 2018
FILE

Nashua will soon have its first syringe exchange program for injection drug users.

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