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Shaheen, Hassan & Kuster Announce $950K to Combat the Opioid Epidemic in Northern New Hampshire

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) announced $950,000 in federal grants to the North Country Health Consortium from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These grants include $200,000 from the Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning Program and $250,000 per year for each of the next three years from the Rural Opioid Health Program, and will fund efforts to combat substance misuse and the opioid epidemic in Northern New Hampshire.

“Granite Staters in every community are struggling with substance use disorder, and the North Country Health Consortium provides critical support to individuals throughout Northern New Hampshire,” said Shaheen, who advocated for this funding as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I’m very pleased to announce this substantial grant, which will support treatment efforts and help combat the opioid epidemic in the North Country, and I will continue to work across the aisle to fund opioid response efforts in every region of New Hampshire.”

“We must ensure that all Granite Staters struggling with addiction have the support they need to get their lives back on track – regardless of their zip code,” said Hassan, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. “The North Country Health Consortium does important work to combat the opioid crisis in northern New Hampshire, and this federal grant will help support their vital efforts.”

“Access to quality substance misuse treatment should not be dependent on where a person lives,” said Kuster. “These funds will partner healthcare providers with community-based groups to bolster our state’s response to the opioid epidemic and help ensure those struggling with substance misuse in New Hampshire’s rural communities can get the treatment and recovery services they need. I’m pleased this grant has been awarded to the North Country Health Consortium and I will continue to work to remove barriers to addiction care.”

“We are so appreciative to have been awarded significant funding that will support critical services in the North Country to address the opioid crisis,” said Nancy Frank, Executive Director of the North Country Health Consortium. “We will be able to work with our partners to build and enhance services and resources to improve the health of North Country residents.”

As members of the Common Sense Caucus, Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped secure an additional $6 billion to combat the opioid crisis in the budget deal signed into law in February, and helped ensure that a dedicated portion of that funding would be set aside specifically for states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. The congressional delegation led efforts to change the SAMHSA funding formula that puts states like New Hampshire with small populations and high mortality rates from opioid overdoses at a disadvantage. SAMHSA recently agreed to change this funding formula and also limit the number of states eligible for the set-aside funds to a targeted list of states, adhering to a request from the New Hampshire congressional delegation. Together, the funding increase in the omnibus funding bill and these subsequent changes to allocate additional resources to states with exceptionally high overdose death rates, have led to a substantial increase in resources for New Hampshire.

Earlier this month, Senate and House negotiators announced the final funding legislation of the Departments of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and other agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2019, which includes an extension of equivalent funding for opioid response efforts secured in the omnibus funding bill for FY 2018. The Labor-HHS funding bill provides $3.8 billion in funding, an increase of $206 million above the FY2018 funding level. This includes $1.5 billion for State Opioid Response Grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The legislation also ensures that New Hampshire will also receive $22.9 million in State Opioid Response Grants for FY 2019.