Letter: In opioid crisis, state must be held accountable

Published: 9/20/2019 12:01:23 AM
Modified: 9/20/2019 12:01:11 AM

It is all well and good that the N.H. attorney general rejects the Purdue Pharma opioid settlement as not good enough. But let’s be real here. It was also not good enough that in the late 1990s when New Hampshire received a windfall from the tobacco suit that the bulk of that money was used to simply help balance the general budget.

In the meantime, the state saw a rise in youth smoking. Yet surprise, surprise: New Hampshire spending on smoking prevention education lagged embarrassingly. This despite the millions in tobacco money flowing into the state.

It is also not good enough that the state, despite having a law in place that was written to dedicate 5% of liquor taxes specifically for substance abuse prevention, incredibly failed to spend most of that revenue on substance abuse for many of the worst years of the opioid crisis. Instead, they diverted that money to (surprise, surprise) balance the general budget. This even while New Hampshire was one of the worst states in the entire United States for per capita opioid deaths.

So I call upon our state government to genuinely stand behind your professed concerns for the still ongoing opioid crisis that is hammering our state, and use a real and significant amount of any incoming settlement funds to actually address the crisis that is still killing our children, our parents, our siblings and our friends right here in the beautiful state of New Hampshire.

Let’s get it right this time, please. New Hampshire lives are depending on you.



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