Substance Abuse

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Manchester’s largest homeless shelter, run by New Horizons Families in Transition, is capping the number of people allowed to stay overnight.

The limit comes after a surge in the documented number of homeless people in the city and rising safety concerns at the shelter.

Manchester Fire Department

 

Four months into the state's new addiction treatment program, Manchester says it's still overwhelmed with the number of people seeking help in the city.

From January to March 2019, 541 people went to Manchester's Safe Stations for help with addiction, a 30 percent increase from the same time last year.

Over half of those people did not live in Manchester.

https://www.facebook.com/firstchurchrochester/

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.

A group of New Hampshire lawmakers has issued their recommendations for repurposing the Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC), the state’s juvenile detention facility in Manchester.

The committee convened in response to a juvenile justice bill passed this summer to address underutilization of the facility, which currently houses around 30 juveniles whom the court deems to be delinquent and violent.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

New Hampshire is weeks away from having a 36-bed drug treatment center for youth.

The Youth Substance Use Disorder Treatment Center, or SUD, is in a renovated wing of the Sununu Youth Services Center, a youth detention center in Manchester. 

With cinder block walls and small bedrooms, the wing has retained an institutional look, but it is entirely separate from the secure detention center, with a separate entrance, parking lot, a space for yoga and meditation, and outdoor fields.

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.

file photo

A key player in the state’s fight against drug addiction has gone under financially, after running a deficit of more than half a million dollars.

A new, national study has alarming predictions for New Hampshire. The report draws a strong connection between substance abuse and suicide, and says the Granite State will have among the country's highest suicide risks in the upcoming decade.  We get more details, also local reaction to this report, and ideas for mitigating this possibility.


Paige Sutherland for NHPR

This story was updated Tuesday with new information.

On Monday, NHPR reported on a series of complaints alleging financial mismanagement and dysfunction at Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, which operates recovery centers throughout the state. Now, the governor’s office is asking both the Attorney General and the Department of Health and Human Services to look into the matter.

Family court judges will soon be required to give priority to grandparents in guardianship cases where parents are dealing with substance abuse issues.

Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill into law last week that’s meant to address the rise in grandparents taking on parental duties in the midst of the state’s heroin and opioid crisis.

The new law takes effect next year, and a public signing ceremony is expected soon.

FILE

A new report shows that the increased use in substance misuse in New Hampshire has cost the state more than $2.3 billion.

That's an uptick of more than half a billion dollars from four years ago, the last time this study was done.

Nashua Department of Public Health and Community Services

Nashua’s Health Department wants you to stop using the word “addict.”

“We need to talk about substance use disorder like the disease that it is,” health educator Aly McKnight told a captive audience of thirty or so in the basement of Nashua Public Library last month.  She pointed to a list of “stigmatizing” words projected onto a screen. “Alcoholic,” “junkie,” even “addiction” should be avoided, it said. 

istock photo

The New Hampshire Insurance Department released the findings of a study Thursday that takes a look at how insurance companies are handling drug and alcohol abuse treatment claims.

The study, which examines the insurers Cigna, Anthem, and Harvard Pilgrim, was intended, in part, to determine if they were complying with federal parity law. In other words, do the companies provide comparable coverage for mental health, substance use disorders, and medical and surgical care?

NHPR Staff

A new bill proposing that grandparents play a bigger role in guardianship cases involving their grandchildren had its first hearing at the State House Tuesday.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Gov. Chris Sununu helped to announce a new partnership on Wednesday aimed at reducing the stigma of addiction.   

Speak Up New Hampshire is the latest campaign from the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Hampshire. Joined by the Bureau for Drug and Alcohol Services, the Governor’s Commission, and various addiction treatment and prevention organizations, the Partnership is now concentrating on reducing the stigma of addiction in the Granite State.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Following promises made during the campaign, Republicans are taking steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act. What will replace the health care law, and which provisions will be spared, is still very much a question in Washington. In New Hampshire, that’s causing unease for many in the substance abuse treatment community.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A substance abuse treatment facility in Franklin, Farnum North, has added 42 more inpatient beds. And with help from donations, the center can now start treating patients who lack insurance. 

Heroin
Courtesy of MPD

  US Senator Kelly Ayotte says a bill in Congress to address opioid abuse could provide a big boost to treatment and prevention efforts in New Hampshire. 

Prescription Drug Treatment Info / Flickr/CC

Starting this month, the state’s more than 140,000 Medicaid recipients are eligible for substance abuse disorder benefits.

The expansion went into effect Friday.

The benefit was already available to the 49,000 people who enrolled as part of the state’s Medicaid expansion program launched two years ago.

Lawmakers reauthorized the program earlier this year.

Prescribing Opioids During an Addiction Epidemic

Apr 14, 2016
Charles Williams / Flickr/CC

State lawmakers, doctors, and others in the medical profession have been hammering out new guidelines for prescribing these drugs to tackle the issue of over-use and alleviate the addiction crisis. We'll get the latest on this discussion and also find out how New Hampshire's approach compares with other states.

Todd Huffman / Flickr/CC

Designed to reduce the spread of disease by distributing clean needles to drug users, needle exchange programs can also provide outreach and referral for treatment.  Now, a bill in the legislature would allow these centers in New Hampshire. And while there's general support, concerns include whether to decriminalize trace amounts of heroin.

Narcan, also known as naloxone, is an anti-overdose drug.
Paige Sutherland for NHPR

New Hampshire is set to receive $1.2 million dollars to help community health centers deal with opioid abuse. 

  New Hampshire US Senator Kelly Ayotte is using this week's Republican response to President Obama to highlight the opioid crisis. 

Addressing N.H.'s Addiction Counselor Shortage

Mar 1, 2016
Phoenix House Academy of Dublin / Flickr/CC

As overdose deaths skyrocket,  there's been a statewide call for more access to drug treatment, and more funding for it.  But treatment centers are scrambling to find and keep enough trained staff to meet the demand.  Chronic issues, such as low pay and bureaucracy add to the burden of helping a patient through recovery.

now.dartmouth.edu

One of New Hampshire's top experts on the opioid crisis will be on hand for President Obama's State of the Union address. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire will receive a big influx of federal dollars to treat addiction and mental illness.

The state will get up to $30 million a year for five years total. And for example, this year it would mean about an added 25 percent on top of what the state has budgeted for mental health and addiction.

That's a big gain for the state says Steve Norton, the executive director of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Services.  But the devil's in the details: like how the money will be spent and how any new services will be evaluated.

NHPR Staff

  

A panel of lawmakers will meet in Concord as part of a legislative task force formed to address the state's growing heroin abuse crisis.

The finance and appropriations panel of the task force is set to meet Tuesday at the State House.

Getty Images

When discussing New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic, the focus is often on the big numbers — the hundreds of drug deaths, the thousands of pain prescriptions, the weeks it can take to get treatment.

But at the first meeting of a new task force looking at the issue in New Hampshire, those who testified brought those statistics to a personal level.

File Photo / NHPR

 

 Senator Jeanne Shaheen is calling for an additional $600 million in emergency federal funding to tackle opioid and heroin misuse across the country — and she says, as in previous public health crises, the federal government needs to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to this issue.

“We’re really looking at, how can we have a coordinated effort? The federal government did that in fighting Ebola. They’ve done that in other health emergencies,” Shaheen said. “We’re saying that this is a health emergency, and we need to ramp in the same way to fight it on all fronts.”

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Approved by a special legislative session, a newly minted task force will spend the next weeks considering several options for tackling the state’s drug problem, which has claimed more than five hundred lives in the last two years. The goal is to craft legislation quickly -- in time for the January return of the legislature.

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