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Bucking National Trend, Overdose Deaths In New Hampshire Decline
Concord, NH – Bucking the national trend, New Hampshire is projected to reduce the number of lives lost to drug overdose by more than 11% from 2018 – 2021. According to the latest CDC data, there were an estimated 101,263 drug overdose deaths in the United States between June of 2020 and June of 2021. This was an increase of 20.6% from the same period the year before. During this same time period New Hampshire was one of only four states to reduce drug overdose deaths. This data solidifies New Hampshire’s track record as a nationwide leader in bucking the national trends and saving lives.
“Addiction is a lifelong battle for individuals and families, and it is not over after 28 days of treatment,” said Governor Chris Sununu “Over the last few years we have made substantial progress in our long term fight against the opioid epidemic by prioritizing a community-based Doorway response to this epidemic that puts individuals ahead of systems. We have not won this battle — far from it, but with the tools and resources we’ve deployed, citizens can rest assured that we are leaving no stone unturned in our battle against addiction.”
In January of 2019, the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol & Other Drugs released an ambitious three-year Action Plan, titled Expanding Our Response. Even with the numerous challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, significant progress has been made towards the goals of this plan. Highlights of this work include:
- A reduction in the alcohol and other drug related negative health outcomes, up to and including death;
- Increased access to substance use disorder, peer recovery support, and recovery housing;
- Downward trends in binge drinking and use of illicit drugs other than marijuana; and
- Significant increase of investments in prevention, treatment, recovery, and other areas of the alcohol and other drug continuum of care.
Today, the Commission is updating the action plan and setting priorities for 2022-2024. Included in those priorities, and at Governor Sununu’s request, the Commission formed a Stimulants Committee, made up of a diverse group of local experts. The committee was tasked with making recommendations to address increased use of stimulants in New Hampshire. The committee‘s recommendations will include expanded investment in a comprehensive NH prevention approach that is more inclusive of stimulants use. This approach expands training, technical assistance, and implementation of evidence-based treatment approaches that include harm reduction for youth and adults.
“The Governor’s Commission, with input from its eight Task Forces, has taken a collaborative approach to investing significant resources across a continuum of Prevention, Treatment and Recovery programs,” said Patrick Tufts, Chair of the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol & Other Drugs. “Including starting an important conversation and creating solutions to addressing increased stimulants use in New Hampshire. Many of these programs are unique to New Hampshire and engage a broad group including military, not for profit, courts, corrections, health care, education, and business.”
Expanding Our Response and a summary of the progress on the plan to date can be found at https://nhcenterforexcellence.org/governors-commission/. Additional data on substance misuse in New Hampshire is available on the NH Department of Health and Human Services Data Portal (wisdom.dhhs.nh.gov/wisdom/).