August 9, 2012
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) is excited to announce the completion of ten Regional Network Strategic Plans developed to address substance abuse prevention across the State. Collectively Regions engaged over 2,507 stakeholders in forums and planning meetings to complete the community-level data driven planning process in the production of these plans.
“We know that alcohol and other drug problems, particularly non-medical use of prescription pain medication, use of marijuana, as well as underage and binge drinking, are creating significant issues for individuals, families, and communities across the State,” said BDAS Director Joe Harding. “To give you just one example, for the first time prescription drug-related deaths (174 in 2010) have outpaced all traffic-related fatalities over the past two years. I commend each of the regional networks in developing these plans that will address the particular issues for each of these 10 regions covering every area of the State.”
The development of these plans has been a collaborative effort involving the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, along with support from the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, Intervention and Treatment. The plans focus on alcohol and other drug prevention efforts at a regional level over the next several years, and will be incorporated into the State’s larger alcohol and other drug policy and services plan.
Historically, substance abuse prevention efforts in New Hampshire consisted of educational and one-time events that had limited impact on prevention substance misuse and disorders. As the field has evolved, it has adopted a public health approach to substance use prevention. Effective substance efforts must be comprehensive; in that, they must include multiple types of prevention efforts as prevention needs to reach all levels of society. It has been proven that data-driven and community-based prevention is more effective.
In 2005, New Hampshire received a Federal grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration for the Strategic Prevention Framework. BDAS then launched a Regional approach to preventing substance abuse across the State. In 2007, the State contracted with ten regional coalitions, which was the genius of the prevention structure and approach. Prevention groups have been working for the past year to develop a local community-based plan that will address prevention issues within their region. As a collective, the following substances are prioritized within the strategic plan: marijuana, underage and binge drinking, and non-medical prescription drug use. Visit: www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bdas/prevention.htm#plans to view the three-year Regional Network Strategic Plans.