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State Leadership Group Releases Five-year Plan to Address Drug Abuse

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Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse
Publish Date:
February 22, 2013

Concord, NH - A new state strategy to address substance use disorders was released today at an event in Concord. It sets targets for reductions in substance use rates among youth and adults, and calls for increased public financing, as well as greater collaboration among community stakeholders, state and local government and private industry.

The Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse was the author of the updated strategic plan, titled Collective Action – Collective Impact: NH’s Strategy for Reducing the Misuse of Alcohol and Other Drugs and Promoting Recovery. The plan, developed over the course of the last year with input from community and state leaders, seeks to address what many on the Governors Commission see as the state’s single largest public health threat. A recent study by the advocacy organization New Futures put the cost of overconsumption of alcohol alone at $1.15 billion per year – a cost borne by the state as well as the business sector.

The report, produced by Brian Gottlob, principal of PolEcon Research in Dover, NH, is available here.

“Our ranking as one of the healthiest states in the country does not speak to the harm caused to New Hampshire by the abuse of alcohol and other drugs,” said Tym Rourke, chair of the commission. “Rates of substance use by youth and young adults are among the highest in the nation. Additionally, many who are in need of treatment for the disorder can’t get access to the services they need – our plan proposes to change that.”

The plan is tied to other efforts to curb substance use disorders, including the National Drug Control Strategy.

“President Obama believes in the pursuit of an America built to last – a Nation founded on an educated, skilled workforce that has the knowledge, energy, and expertise to succeed in our highly competitive global marketplace,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy. “Yet, for too many Americans, this vision is clouded by drug use. We commend the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse for pursuing a smart and innovative plan to make New Hampshire healthier and safer in a way that treats drug use as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue.”

In a statement, Gov. Maggie Hassan signaled her support for the Commission’s plan.

“In order to ensure New Hampshire remains one of the nation’s healthiest and safest states, we must prevent and treat alcohol and other drug misuse more effectively. The Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention’s State Substance Use Strategy will help improve our efforts to achieve this important goal,” the governor’s statement read.

Governor Hassan’s current budget proposal includes increased support for substance use treatment through Medicaid, as well as efforts to bolster public safety through funding of the Drug Task Force and an increased to the number of State Troopers.

“We must prioritize the prevention and treatment of alcohol and drug abuse in New Hampshire,” said Attorney General Michael Delaney. “Our law enforcement community will embrace this strategic plan and will support the ongoing partnerships that are critical to advancing the plan’s goals and recommendations.”

Richard Ober, president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, voiced the importance of a public-private partnership, which includes the Foundation’s multi-year commitment to funding substance use prevention services. The Foundation has one of the only significant philanthropic funds in the country dedicated to issues related to drug and alcohol abuse.

“Our efforts will not succeed without adequate public financing,” said Ober. “The foundation looks forward to working to ensure our funds are leveraged wisely through smart public investments to reduce the burden of this issue to New Hampshire Communities.”

For more information, contact Tym Rourke, Chair, Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention and Treatment, (603) 225-6641, ext 1295

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