SHAHEEN, NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY DIRECTOR, LOCAL OFFICIALS DISCUSS EFFORTS TO ADDRESS NEW HAMPSHIRE OPIOID ABUSEMay 16, 2014
(Franklin, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) continued her efforts to combat New Hampshire’s heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic this afternoon, hosting a roundtable in Franklin with White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Acting Director Michael Botticelli at Franklin Regional Hospital. Shaheen and Botticelli were joined by members of the Franklin Mayor’s Drug Task Force, the New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and the Franklin Drug-Free Communities Program (DFC) for a discussion on how law enforcement, health officials and community leaders can partner with the federal government to prevent and treat substance use disorders in New Hampshire.
“We’ve seen communities across our state struggle to address growing substance abuse problems and the best way to combat this issue is going to be teamwork between stakeholders at the community, state and federal levels,” Shaheen said. “It was great to have Director Botticelli here today to discuss how we can all partner to support efforts like those of the Franklin Mayor’s Drug Task Force. I’ll continue to work with communities around the state to make sure they have the resources they need to tackle the growing heroin and prescription drug epidemic.”
“New Hampshire has been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic—both heroin and prescription painkillers—but we are not powerless against this challenge,” said Acting Director Botticelli. “We are pursuing real, evidence-based drug policy reforms that will make New Hampshire healthier and safer, including support for expanding prevention, treatment, and smart on crime innovations. Drug control is a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue and we look forward to working with Federal, state, and local officials in New Hampshire to save lives and improve health and safety.”
According to New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHDHHS), the number of people admitted to state treatment programs increased 90 percent for heroin use and 500 percent for prescription drug use over the last 10 years, with the largest increases occurring in just the last two years. Law enforcement officials have also seen a spike in crimes associated with drug use – like burglaries, assaults and property crimes – and according to NHDHHS, 64 individuals died in heroin-related deaths last year.
Today’s roundtable in Franklin is Shaheen’s third roundtable on New Hampshire’s heroin and prescription drug abuse problem and follows a recent call to Senate appropriators to dedicate robust funding to support Department of Justice drug monitoring programs. Earlier this year, Shaheen called for federal investments to help law enforcement and health care providers in New Hampshire combat the growing problem and urged Attorney General Eric Holder to partner with local officials to fight the epidemic. She has also voiced concerns about potential addiction and drug-related death risks associated with Zohydro ER (hydrocodone bitartrate) a narcotic recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
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