March 21, 2020 In the News

NH to receive $28 million to fight opioid epidemic

New Hampshire Union Leader
By Kevin Landrigan
March 21, 2020

New Hampshire will receive $28.1 million in the coming year to battle the state’s drug abuse epidemic, the state’s two U.S. senators announced late Friday.

The grant marks a decline from the record $34.9 million the state previously received, mainly because the number of fatal overdoses declined in 2019.

In 2018, the state had 471 fatal overdoses.

That number dropped in 2019, though the official total is not yet known.

In 2018, New Hampshire had the third-highest overdose rate, behind only West Virginia and Ohio.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier this month that New Hampshire most recently ranked as the sixth-worst state for drug overdoses.

Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware have joined the other states with higher death rates than New Hampshire.

Serving on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., played a major role in changing the formula for the grants to give extra money to the states with the 10 highest rates of drug overdoses.

This led to New Hampshire’s grant growing tenfold from the $3 million it received in 2016 to what it got last year.

“Treatment saves lives and helps those suffering with drug dependencies to start anew — that’s why this funding is so important,” Shaheen said in a statement.

“For the last several years, I’ve been working with New Hampshire’s federal delegation and a bipartisan group of senators from hardest-hit states to prioritize treatment funding to our states. This effort has been one of my top priorities in Congress.”

Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said the grant announcement is welcome news to those on the front lines battling this crisis.

“This additional federal funding will help strengthen our state’s efforts to turn the tide of the substance misuse crisis and save lives,” Hassan said. “ We still have far more work to do to strengthen treatment, recovery, and prevention services across our state, and I won’t stop working to ensure that those on the front lines of this epidemic have the support and resources that they need.”

For the first time, the grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be used to deal with overdoses due to methamphetamine and cocaine.

Shaheen sponsored that change, which was adopted into an omnibus federal spending bill Congress passed at the end of last year.