- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The state’s new drug czar has come up with 22 recommendations to combat opioid and substance abuse, such as making it easier for families to get the overdose reversal drug Narcan, expanding access to treatment and boosting education and awareness.

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan announced the recommendations by Jack Wozmak, the senior director for Substance Misuse and Behavioral Health, on Tuesday, a day ahead of a presentation scheduled before an Executive Council meeting in Cornish.

“The opioid and substance abuse misuse crisis facing our state is our most pressing public health and safety (challenge),” Hassan said in a statement. “The growing number of opioid users and the increasing number of overdose deaths affect families and communities across the state, touching people from all walks of life.”

She noted that substance abuse rates are particularly troubling among young people, pointing out a national Kids Count report that came out Tuesday showing New Hampshire is tied with six other states for the highest rate of substance abuse by teens.

The first recommendation is developing an implementation plan for the recently enacted legislation making Narcan available to family members. Wozmak said that while the Legislature authorized family members to obtain prescriptions for Narcan to help people at risk of experiencing overdoses, the families are reporting difficulties in accessing and filling prescriptions.

The goal is for protocols to be developed by September.

Other recommendations include expanding substance abuse services to the existing Medicaid population, expanding drug courts and treatment options and expanding health care provider education. Also recommended was increasing the availability of drug use and trafficking data for law enforcement, creating a state telehealth/telemedicine system and establishing a network of recovery houses.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide