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Hassan, Shaheen Host Heroin Roundtable Discussion in Nashua, Participate in Manchester Walking Tour with Director of National Drug Control Policy

(September 14, 2015 – Manchester, NH – Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Governor Maggie Hassan and Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli hear from Manchester law enforcement about the city’s heroin addiction epidemic)

(Nashua, NH) – This morning, Governor Maggie Hassan and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) hosted Director of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli, at a roundtable discussion in Nashua on how New Hampshire can better partner with the federal government to address the state’s growing heroin and prescription drug addiction epidemic. Hassan, Shaheen and Botticelli were joined by city and state officials including, New Hampshire Department of Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes and New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas. Following the roundtable, Hassan, Shaheen, Botticelli and U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte joined Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard for a walking tour in Manchester to see conditions on the ground firsthand.

“Combating the heroin and opioid crisis is going to require collaborative efforts every day at all levels - from local, state and federal government, to law enforcement and public safety officials, to the health care community and treatment providers,” Governor Hassan said. “Today's events with Senator Shaheen and Director Boticelli were critical to bringing together various stakeholders in our two biggest cities to highlight our ongoing efforts and discuss how we can further strengthen our efforts to combat substance abuse, which is the most pressing public health and safety challenge facing our state. We know that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem and that we must boost prevention efforts and strengthen treatment and recovery programs through initiatives like the bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection Program, which is providing coverage for substance abuse treatment to thousands of Granite Staters.”

"The crisis of heroin and opioid abuse is the most urgent public health challenge facing New Hampshire,” Shaheen said. “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment. Today’s roundtable provided an exceptional opportunity to discuss in detail what’s working and where greater cooperation at the federal, state and local levels is needed. The overall message from law enforcement and community leaders is clear: the answer is in prevention, treatment, and recovery. That’s why it’s imperative that we have bipartisan cooperation in Concord and Washington to make the resources available for New Hampshire programs tackling the heroin crisis."

Of particular concern in New Hampshire is a lack of treatment providers as well as the uncertainty of Medicaid Expansion reauthorization. At the roundtable, Shaheen and Hassan stressed the need to maintain strong funding for interdiction and treatment programs at the state and federal levels.

Last month, Governor Hassan presented a fiscally responsible compromise budget that would provide $5.9 million in additional funds over the Committee of Conference budget to strengthen efforts to combat the heroin crisis. In the Senate, Shaheen voted against a Republican backed budget that proposed cutting funding for substance abuse treatment under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) by nearly $130 million.  That includes a $50 million cut to the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant, which is an important resource for New Hampshire programs.