Nearly four hundred people from Manchester and across the state turned out for last night’s heroin forum in Manchester last night. Police Chief Nick Willard’s opening comments in the forum he organized identified the defeat of the proposed drug court for the northern district of the Hillsborough County Superior Court as his call to action. He said that defeat showed him just how much work needed to be done to educate lawmakers and the public at large about the depth and scope of the problem. He said his purpose in speaking out was to make things change.
Willard’s comments came on the heels of those made by Mayor Ted Gatsas, who not only called for state action, but outlined what he and city officials were doing to combat the problem. He pointed to a meeting recently held between him, city officials and the medical directors of the city’s three hospitals, stating it was the first time staff from the three hospitals had been in the same room together to discuss the problem and start working on solutions. He praised their responses.
Manchester Health Director Tim Soucy said in his twenty six years in public health, he’s never publicly used the term epidemic to describe anything until now. He said he, other city officials, the hospitals and others are aggressively working on a plan in response to the crisis, but said, as many did last night, that there needs to be far greater treatment and recovery capacity. A M R service director Christopher Stawasz agreed, saying he’s not seen anything like this in the twenty two years he’s worked in emergency medical response and that they’re doing little more than putting band aids on the problem.
Stunning and sad testimony came from parents of children who are either currently struggling with addiction or who have lost their lives to it. One woman said her son has been “Narcanned twenty nine times.” Frustrated parents shared stories of how school and other systems failed to help or simply weren’t available. The time between an addict saying they want help and getting it before they use again is preciously short, they said. Parent Tracy Bachert, who is working with a commission established by Mayor Gatsas, read of a list of things parents need to look for and understand are signs of heroin use. Missing spoons was one of them. The list is being finalized and will be distributed publicly to raise awareness.
There was much more that happened. We’ve chronicled it in our Live Blog Forum, which we’ve linked to, and will upload our recording of it to our archives today so, keep an eye on Girard at Large dot com.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Are the Derry budget cuts headed to court? That’s the question that now looms over the town as the town council refused to take action on the eight petitions submitted by citizens to overturn them. The council neither neither accepted the petitions nor ordered them to ballot. While members of the council’s minority called a special meeting saying the lawyer hired by the council to address the matter found the petitions in order and said they had a thirty day window to act, members of the majority basically said not so fast. Apparently, the lawyer really said that while there may be areas of gray, that Derry vests the power of the purse in the town council and that budgets are not matters for voters to either approve or overturn via special elections.
Council Chairman Thomas Cardon again had his hands full with an unruly crowd. He asked several members of the public to leave after repeated, disruptive outbursts. Many had to be escorted from the Council Chambers by the police who were on hand.
In a story that keeps going from bad to worse, The Center for Medical Progress has released yet another video exposing what it calls Planned Parenthood’s black market trade in aborted baby parts. This time, they interviewed Holly O’Donnell, an ex-Procurement Technician for Stem Express, a company which buys the parts. I’ll leave it at this. ugh, really not good.
In a related story, more than two hundred people attended the Women Betrayed rally in Concord yesterday to demand an end to Planned Parenthood’s state and federal funding. The rally, which was part of a nationwide event, was organized in light of the first video which showed Dr. Deborah Nucatola discussing taking orders for baby parts and pricing over wine and salad.
That’s news from our own backyard Girard at Large hour ___ is next