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Letter: Drug use is biggest worry in our communities


Monday, August 13, 2018

When I talk to people in Gilmanton, Alton and elsewhere in New Hampshire, their biggest worry is the growing impact of drugs on their community and on co-workers, friends or families. Many of us see people struggling with their own addiction or the addiction of someone close. We see the increase in crimes propelled by addicts’ need for drugs, so overwhelming it blocks all else.

There is no simple solution. Great ideas and funding for workable solutions will benefit our families, communities, workforce and economy.

We need to bring together public health experts, caregivers, law enforcement, local officials and legislators to develop a drug policy that is compassionate and effective. We need to study the “Portuguese Model,” a smarter, health-driven approach which treats addiction as a chronic disease, not a crime. And we should provide more proven treatment and recovery programs.

We know there are too many people wanting recovery assistance who cannot get it. Medicaid expansion is one of New Hampshire’s most powerful tools to fight the epidemic because it covers mental health and substance abuse services. It has been extended for 5 years, which is great, but it is not enough.

Also, let’s improve New Hampshire’s prescribing rules to be strong but sensible and clear to doctors and pharmacists so people who need legitimate pain relief can get it. I’m hearing this is a problem, sometimes leaving even post-op patients without relief. Support law enforcement to stop the flow of illegal drugs across our borders and send dealers to prison.

BETTY ANN ABBOTT

Gilmanton Iron Works

(The writer is a candidate for N.H. House Belknap County District 5.)