Opioids | New Hampshire Public Radio


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New Hampshire is one of five states featured in a new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C. think tank that is documenting spending on the opioid crisis.

The report is a comprehensive accounting of federal dollars being allocated toward the epidemic, including where and how the money is being spent.

It urges policy makers to provide stable funding in the coming years, and to allow states flexibility in how that money is used.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR


A New Hampshire man has been convicted of running a prostitution operation following a trial during which witnesses described how he used their drug addictions to causing them to work as prostitutes for his profit.

A federal jury found 33-year-old Steven Tucker, of Manchester, guilty Friday of using interstate facilities to promote prostitution, maintaining a drug-involved premises and sex trafficking of a minor. He's scheduled to be sentenced July 2.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

A trailer offering a glimpse inside the bedroom of a teenage drug user is traveling the state over the next week, making stops in Concord, Dover, Portsmouth, Exeter and Manchester. 

Inside, it's set up with signs of drug abuse that the average parent might not notice: discarded paraphernalia in the trash, shoelaces and belts that have been used as tourniquets, stashed drugs hidden under drawers.

Additional $12 M Headed to N.H. to Fight Opioid Crisis

Mar 21, 2019

New Hampshire will receive significantly more federal funding this year to combat the opioid crisis.

The money will come through an ongoing U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant program to states.

The department has announced New Hampshire’s allocation will go up this year by about $12 million over last year’s levels. That’s a nearly 50 percent increase.

The grant is being used here to support an all-hours hotline and system of walk-in addiction care centers called The Doorway.

First responders across New Hampshire are participating in a grant program that uses mobile units to connect people struggling with substance use disorders to treatment and recovery services. It’s called NH Project First.

Lt. Brian Keyes has already been doing this kind of work for the past two years as the recovery coordinator for the Laconia Fire Department. He says in recent years the department has responded to many more overdose calls than actual fires.

Sara Plourde / New Hampshire Public Radio

Governor Chris Sununu and New Hampshire's congressional delegation are urging the Trump administration to prioritize opioid-related funding to states in the president's upcoming budget proposal.


New Hampshire's Democratic congressional delegation is urging President Donald Trump to prioritize funding for State Opioid Response grants in his annual budget proposal to Congress.

The delegation wrote that the funding has provided "vital support to efforts from health care providers, first responders and families" in the state working to combat the opioid epidemic.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas said the state remains one of the hardest-hit in the nation, with about 450 drug overdose deaths in 2018.

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Multiple news agencies are reporting that drug company Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, is considering filing for bankruptcy. That could affect lawsuits against the drug maker here in New Hampshire.

A new AmeriCorps program is supporting more than a dozen addiction support workers across New Hampshire.

The workers will serve as recovery coaches at local non-profits, offering peer mentoring and helping clients connect with resources in the community.

Many local recovery organizations have struggled to find and pay workers to do this kind of work, said Maggie Ringey, who is coordinating the program. 

Opioid-related issues have been a focus of the Corporation for National and Community Serivce, the federal agency that funds Americorps programs, in recent years.

Lobbying All The Way

Mar 1, 2019

When you visit the State House in Concord, you might notice some well-dressed people sporting bright orange name tags: lobbyists. What do lobbyists do and how does lobbying work?

Then we’re going inside drug court, a program designed to divert people with substance use disorders from prison.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Natacha Davis is juggling a lot these days. She’s living with her mom, raising her three kids, and training to become a recovery coach to help people overcome addiction.

On a recent evening, she was running out the door for an A.A. meeting in Nashua. As she grabbed her keys, she peered into a Puerto Rican plantain stew simmering on the stove.

“Mom is the food done yet?”

“Not yet!” Her mom answered.

“Alright Mom. I love you. I’ll be back,” Davis opened the door. “You heard me? I love you.”

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

On a recent Friday afternoon, Annika Stanley-Smith made her way to the downtown Concord offices of Tufts Health Freedom Plan. The company had been waiting months for this meeting, an orientation on Governor Chris Sununu’s Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative.

The program asks business leaders to pledge their support to workers struggling with addiction in exchange for an official designation from the governor’s office, as well as free training and consultation on substance use-related issues.

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New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan was among the lawmakers asking questions of the nation's biggest drug companies in Washington today.

While much of the hearing before the Senate Finance Committee focused on the high price of prescription drugs in the U.S., Hassan focused her questions on the sales tactics the companies used when promoting opioids to doctors.

Part 2: One Month Out

Feb 22, 2019

This is the second episode of “The Rules Are Different Here,” a four-part series on mass incarceration in New Hampshire. Listen to the first installment, or explore the full series.

Cheryl Senter / NHPR


Inmates with substance use disorder will now have someone to help them get recovery services after they leave state prison.

The initiative was piloted in 2018 in the women's prison in Concord and is now expanding to the men's prison in Berlin.

Department of Corrections Commissioner Helen Hanks says re-entry coordinators are needed because so many people in prison are struggling with addiction and many are in recovery. They face a high chance of recidivism or overdosing post release.

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 Thursday, February 14th at 9 a.m. and again at 7 p.m.

The conversation is also available below. Click here to find the full, unedited discussion

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


The First Church Congregational of Rochester and a recovery center that operates in it are suing the city of Rochester for trying to shut the center down. 

The SOS Recovery Community Center, a program of Goodwin Community Health, uses a wing of the church to offer services to hundreds of people seeking help with addiction each month.

History of Concord, New Hampshire, from the original grant in seventeen hundred and twenty-five to the opening of the twentieth century

What does mass incarceration look like in New Hampshire?

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.

A New National Strategy for Managing Pain

Feb 4, 2019
U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Mariah Haddenham)

In the midst of the opioid epidemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is addressing the need for alternative pain management. The department recently released a draft federal report on best practices — and opened a public comment period. Pain specialists recommend an interdisciplinary approach, combining physical treatments, pharmacology and mental health therapy. Many Granite Staters encounter hurdles with insurance coverage, access to health care providers, and stigma in treating their pain holistically.

We talk to physicians about the best approaches to acute and chronic pain. We also hear how health insurance companies are adjusting coverage to meet changing trends in pain management.


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. 

Janis Oppliger / Unsplash

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire are studying how spending time outdoors might help people who are struggling with substance use disorders.

It's called outdoor behavioral therapy. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Michael Gass, a professor and the current director of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Center at UNH.

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New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a bill to give towns more oversight over sober living facilities.

The facilities rent rooms to people recovering from addiction, with the goal of staying clean and finding community support.

Manchester fire chief Dan Goonan, who helped craft the bill, says in Manchester, there are dozens of unregulated sober living facilities, some without proper exits or fire or carbon monoxide alarms.

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The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office has detailed the series of failings that led to the downfall of a critical addiction treatment provider in Manchester last year.

In a final report issued Monday, the AG’s Charitable Trust Unit laid out how Serenity Place dramatically, and somewhat recklessly, expanded its services in an attempt to meet demand as the opioid crisis grew (Read the full report below).

Jason Moon / NHPR

A new state advisory council on opioid overprescribing will use data analysis to better understand the state's opioid crisis.

Governor Chris Sununu signed an executive order creating the New Hampshire Opioid Overprescribing and Misuse Project Advisory Council Thursday afternoon. 

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

In a series of public forums this week and next, state and local health officials are addressing questions and uncertainty around New Hampshire’s new addiction treatment system, called The Doorway. 

As of January 1, the system’s core framework is in place. That includes nine regional offices, supported by the 24/7 statewide 2-1-1 hotline, providing evaluation and referral services for substance use disorders.

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.




New Hampshire health officials will hold a series of forums around the state to explain the state's new system to streamline and coordinate drug abuse treatment and recovery services.

The federal government recently awarded the state the first installment of $45.8 million in grants for the project, which is being called "The Doorway-NH." The system involves a hub-and-spoke model in which hospitals and others work with local providers to ensure that help is less than an hour away anywhere in the state.