New Hampshire governor calls drug initiative good first step

17 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

New Hampshire governor calls drug initiative good first step.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire Gov. The White House said it would pair health care workers with law enforcement agents in 15 states along the country’s populous northeast corridor to emphasize treatment of drug users over punishment.The Obama administration is changing its approach to the surge in heroin use in the United States from a punishment-driven model to a treatment-driven one, following the release of data showing that heroin use and related deaths are rising rapidly. The million program is aimed at tracing where heroin is coming from, how it is being laced with a deadly additive, and who is selling it on the streets. The plan is a response to a steep recent increase in the number of heroin overdoses and deaths throughout the country, but particularly in the states covered by the new effort. “The new Heroin Response Strategy demonstrates a strong commitment to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic as both a public health and a public safety issue,” said Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy.

The plan comes from the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program, a federally-funded law enforcement initiative that is one of 28 nationwide. New Hampshire saw more than 300 drug-related deaths last year, and police chiefs in major cities are calling for more help to battle what they say is a growing crisis of drug overdoses. The partnership will also help to more widely distribute medications used to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose to first responders to help prevent overdose deaths.

Drugs like OxyContin are commonly prescribed and highly addictive, often paving the way for heroin use, which has similar effects but is cheaper and more easily obtained. “We are priming people to addiction to heroin with overuse of prescription opiates,” CDC director Tom Frieden said at a news conference in July. “More people are primed for heroin addiction because they are addicted to prescription opiates, which are, after all, essentially the same chemical with the same impact on the brain.” President Obama has acknowledged that painkillers are over-prescribed, the Post reported. This year, the administration proposed a $133 million plan to decrease opioid prescriptions and increase the use of Suboxone and methadone, two drugs often used to replace heroin during the withdrawal stages of overcoming addiction, though their effectiveness has been disputed since they can also be addictive. “Heroin is killing people,” the enforcement official told the Post, “and too often, public health goes one way and law enforcement goes the other.

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