New Hampshire is without question one of the most beautiful states in the nation. Sadly, it also has the second worst death rate from opioid overdoses relative to its population (behind West Virginia).
Remarkably, it also has the highest death rate from Fentanyl overdoses.
So what exactly is going on?
That’s a question researchers are struggling to answer.
Part of the problem stems from the state’s very high rate of prescribing opioid drugs, and specifically, high-dose and extended-release opioids.
Physicians have literally unleashed an epidemic of addiction in New Hampshire through their over-reliance on these drugs to treat pain.
Sadly, the Fentanyl crisis is a simple extension of this pattern of prescribing.
Opioid drugs are known to be the most addictive drugs available for human consumption. Once a patient becomes addicted, their ever-increasing need for more opioids leads many to seek cheap and readily available supplies. In fact, research shows that many addicted to these cheaper, readily available alternatives got their start with a doctor’s prescription for an opioid painkiller.
And at first, that alternative was heroin. Then two and a half years ago, Fentanyl hit the streets of New Hampshire. Cheaper and easier to transport than heroin, it’s also more deadly, often killing those that use it within minutes of the onset of an overdose.
According to experts, New Hampshire’s rural, small-town nature and a lack of economic opportunity in many of those communities have also contributed to an increase in states of despair and depression, with opioids serving to provide users with an escape from that reality.
Also contributing to New Hampshire’s problem is its low rate of spending on substance abuse treatment and prevention. The state’s spending on the problem is the second lowest in America.
What can be done?
At a minimum, New Hampshire needs to deploy more resources to help addicts in distress.
In the meantime, local first responders like Manchester’s Fire Department are trying to step into the gap. The day Daniel Goonan became chief of the department in 2016, the department started a program called Safe Station. That program provides treatment access to those who need help. All 10 of the department’s Manchester New Hampshire stations have opened their doors 24 hours a day to anyone seeking treatment for addiction. And the program is working.
Other drug addiction resources now available in New Hampshire include Aware Recovery Care, a drug and alcohol addiction treatment program first developed by addiction specialists at Yale. Aware opened its office in New Hampshire in January of 2017 at the request of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield after the insurer saw the exceptional results Aware was producing in the state of Connecticut. Aware Recovery Care is unique because it provides treatment in the home by a team of addiction specialists effectively treating the problem in the environment where the problem first began.
If you or someone you love would like to learn more about Aware Recovery Care’s unique program, or seek the help of one of our care specialists, please visit www.awarerecoverycare.com to learn more.