New Hampshire is in the midst of a heroin addiction crisis.
Communities are wrestling with ways to combat the problem. This week, the city of Manchester held a community forum to discuss the problem. As Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard noted (in a Union Leader story
): “There have been 47 deaths since Jan. 1,” Manchester’s chief Nick Willard said. “We’ve responded to more than 250 overdose-related calls this year as well.”
Manchester was not the first community to hold such a forum; it won’t be the last.
Political leaders have sought, in part, to address the issue through a measure passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Maggie Hassan that makes Narcan more readily available to doctors and emergency responders. Narcan is a lifesaving drug used in cases of heroin and opioid overdoses.
Said Lt. Jason Bean with the Laconia Fire Department:”... it’s probably one of the more important drugs we are carrying now, especially with this epidemic.” See an NHPR story here
The state named its first ever drug czar - Jack Wozmak -- whose job is to help coordinate a statewide response from a variety of stakeholders to the drug addiction crisis in the Granite State.
But Wozmak came under fire this week as his continued funding came due. The money for the position comes from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, but is administered by the state and came before the Legislative Fiscal Committee, which, like the Legislature itself, is dominated by Republicans.
Wozmak became a political issue. Republican Sen. Andy Sanborn demanded this week that Wozmak, who was appointed to the position by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan in January, step down. He said he hasn’t seen any evidence that Wozmack has coordinated anything.
But Wozmak, according to an NHPR story
, told the committee that he has talked to more than 140 stakeholders in the state and is making a difference. Wozmak specifically pointed out his work in crafting a statewide standard for prescribing opioids, which he expects to release soon. Currently, roughly 12,000 people are licensed to prescribe opioids in the state.
Lawmakers approved $112,500 to fund the position through December, but there are lingering doubts about Wozmak and the job he’s doing.
The governor applauded the funding, saying in a statement
: “The heroin and substance abuse crisis is the most pressing public health and safety challenge facing our state, and we all need to continue working together to strengthen prevention and education efforts and to expand access to treatment and recovery services.”Less engaged
With Granite Staters hosting visits by any number of candidates for president this year, we like to think we’re politically engaged. But we’re not, according to a report released Thursday by Open Democracy
, a New Hampshire organization working to reduce the influence of money in politics.
The report measures the state’s democracy index in voting, civic engagement, election funding, lobbying, electoral competition and diversity of representation.
According to the report, most voting-age Granite Staters don’t turn out to the polls for midterms and primaries – never mind municipal elections – and can’t name their U.S. senators or their state representatives.
See a Concord Monitor story here
.Uniform Securities Act
Gov. Hassan this week signed the Uniform Securities Act - a measure that had been suggested by the Live Free and Start Initiative she created to help spur high tech start-ups in the state.http://livefreeandstart.com/
“One of Live Free and Start’s top priorities, the Uniform Securities Act modernizes our securities regulations with a focus on investor protection and reducing hurdles for businesses trying to raise the capital that they need. This important bipartisan measure will support the growth of innovative businesses, while also fairly balancing the state’s interest in regulating securities transactions, creating a synchronized and modern law that reflects current thinking and the way business and entrepreneurs work,” the governor said in her statement.This and that
Armed guards started showing up at military recruitment centers across the country and in New Hampshire in response to the shootings and killings of soldiers at a center in Chattanooga, Tenn., earlier this month. Officers in those recruitment centers aren’t allowed to carry weapons, so the armed civilians appeared and have stayed, despite a request from the Pentagon that they back down. Gov. Hassan said she doesn’t support the arming of N.H. National Guard recruiters. See an NHPR story here
Residents are turning out by the hundreds in several southeastern New Hampshire communities to oppose the proposed natural gas pipeline through their communities. One such protest was held this week in Milford. See a WMUR report here
The University of New Hampshire removed from its website a "bias-free language guide" that warned against using the word "American" because it fails to recognize South America. According to an Associated Press story
on Seacoast Online, the guide was developed in 2013 by several advocacy groups whose members are appointed by the university president. It was mentioned in an annual report submitted by at least one of those groups in 2014, but the university said administrators did not know about it until this week, when it was criticized in the media. On Wednesday, President Mark Huddleston said the guide was not campus policy and that he was offended by many of its entries. On Thursday, he ordered a review of the university's online posting policies.
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