Last evening on WMUR’s 6:00pm Newscast, Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard said of the heroin epidemic plaguing Manchester and other New Hampshire communities:

“We need more action. We need the leaders of this state to step forward and help us with this heroin epidemic, because it’s not going away.”

In response, House Speaker Shawn Jasper issued the following statement:

“In direct response to the growing drug crisis in our communities, the New Hampshire House and Senate put forward a spending plan that increased funding for addiction treatment and recovery services by 75%. Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed the budget containing these provisions impeding our state’s ability to deal effectively with this epidemic.

This legislature has also taken other important steps in the fight against addiction including passing a Good Samaritan Law encouraging people to report overdoses, making Narcan available without a prescription, and approving change in Rules to allow police officers to administer Narcan. But the most important step was increasing state funding for substance abuse programs by 75% in the budget that the Governor vetoed.

In addition to addiction treatment and recovery funding, the budget also contained increased funding for the Department of Safety, whose efforts aid local law enforcement in our overall campaign to stop the supply and distribution of illegal and addictive substances.

When lives are at stake, we need to put politics aside. According to data from the state’s Chief Medical Examiner, every 27 hours there is a drug overdose death in New Hampshire. If we can invest in resources that will help our state intervene sooner, and provide the services to those suffering from addiction, we can save lives. We can reduce the number of headlines we read each day of families being torn apart by death and despair due to drug abuse.

The Governor had the opportunity to put over $42 million dollars to use combatting substance abuse. But instead she chose to delay our state’s ability to respond to this crisis by vetoing our responsible budget that would have begun to deploy significant additional resources to help those suffering from addiction. The quickest way for us to deploy these resources is to override the Governor’s veto when the legislature reconvenes.”

To learn more about the immediate need to address addiction issues in our state, please watch this compelling video produced by an in-state advocacy organization:

The full WMUR report, “Heroin seizures up 20 times in Manchester over last year,”  can be viewed here:

For Immediate Release

July 8, 2015

Contact: Jim Rivers (603) 271-3664