The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen received a presentation regarding the city’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis last night. In addition to Public Health Director Tim Soucy, Police Chief Nick Willard and Fire Chief Dan Goonan, various state officials were present, including: Drug Court Judge Ken Brown, N H Drug Czar James Vara, Health & Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers and Tim Rourke, Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Drugs and Alcohol.
The twenty four page report, which we’ve uploaded with this news read at Girard at Large dot com, detailed the efforts of the city, its hospitals, various non-profits and other businesses and agencies to get a handle on what was termed a quote “unprecedented public health crisis.”
Quoting from the report:
In 2016, the City of Manchester faced an unprecedented public health crisis. Manchester Fire Department and American Medical Response reported 785 suspected overdose calls for service, 566 patients were treated with Naloxone and 90 were suspected fatalities related to opioids. Per the December 2016 NH Drug Monitoring Initiative report, 2016 saw 2,793 incidents involving Naloxone and 382 drug related deaths. Looking at these numbers tells us that the City of Manchester alone accounted for about 25% of the Naloxone administration as well as 25% of the suspected opioid related deaths for the state of NH while only accounting for about 8% of the population of the state.
The City of Manchester acted to combat this public health crisis and has brought together providers across healthcare, health promotion, prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery. Through these strong partnerships, a broad approach to solutions has made a significant impact in lowering the projected drug deaths in 2016 in New Hampshire’s largest city.”
The report detailed significant capacity expansions of treatment and recovery programs, the destruction of over nine hundred pounds of drugs, the distribution of four thousand resource cards and the attendance of nearly six hundred members of the public at various community presentations. The number of safe station visits, Narcan kits given away, calls to the 2 1 1 help line and referrals to Student Assistant Programs were detailed.
According to the report, six hundred twenty five drug arrests were made last year, almost four thousand grams of drugs were seized, along with over one hundred fifty thousand dollars in cash and nine guns. More than one hundred children were born to drug addicted mothers. Three hundred fifty three Hep. C tests were given as were four hundred sixty six tests for H I V infection. Over five hundred seventy needles were picked up off the streets.
In addition to the funds kicked into treatment programs by the city, Granite United Way contributed over three hundred twenty five thousand dollars to battle the epidemic.
Also last night, the board received and filed the school board’s request to have a budget appropriation by March thirty first.
It was also told that the teachers contract, which, according to School District Business Administrator Karen DeFrancis will cost the district two point three million dollars in the coming fiscal year, has actually saved the district something like two point two million dollars, by Ward Ten School Board Member John Avard during the public participation session. We just might have something to say about that.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
District Eleven State Senator Gary Daniels Republican from Milford and Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, issued the following statement on a bill, S B 1 9 6, which would increase funds deposited in the Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund to five percent of the previous fiscal year gross profits derived by the Liquor Commission from the sale of liquor. Said Daniels, quote :
We are all very concerned about drug and alcohol addiction in New Hampshire and ensuring that there are resources available for our citizens is certainly among our top priorities. As is part of the normal process, the legislation introduced today would best be considered in the budget process when we have a clearer understanding of our state’s financial picture as whole. In addition, I look forward to Governor Sununu’s leadership on drug and alcohol prevention, treatment and recovery efforts for the State of New Hampshire.”
Bedford Superintendent of Schools Chip McGee canceled last night’s School District Deliberative Session because of the weather. It has been tentatively rescheduled for tonight at Bedford High School. The town also announced that tonight’s meeting of the Town Council has been canceled, perhaps in response to the change in the school’s Deliberative Session. No information on whether or not it will be rescheduled was released by the town in the advisories it issued last night.
That’s NEWS from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!