We all know that the heroin and prescription opioid abuse epidemic is a life or death issue in our state.
So, I’ve been working for years on this issue with folks on the front lines—from first responders and families impacted by substance abuse to senior policymakers and health care experts.
One of the efforts that grew out of these experiences is the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).
The Senate passed this important bill 92-2 in March, and the House passed a compromise version 407-5 last week. And yesterday, I am thrilled to announce that the final version passed the Senate and is soon to be signed into law.
If you ask law enforcement across New Hampshire, they’ll tell you that we can’t arrest our way out of this problem. So, rather than focusing on a single approach, CARA has four pillars—prevention, treatment, recovery, and support for first responders. That includes:
- Expanding prevention and education efforts
- Expanding the availability of the lifesaving overdose reversal drug Narcan
- Supporting additional resources to treat incarcerated individuals suffering from substance use disorders
- Expanding drug take-back sites
- Strengthening prescription drug monitoring programs
- Launching a prescription opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program
CARA is supported by stakeholders from nearly every facet of this crisis—including treatment providers, individuals struggling with addiction, addiction experts, families who have lost loved ones, first responders, law enforcement, and more. In fact, 248 national and local groups, the National Fraternal Order of Police, and nearly 40 New Hampshire police chiefs backed this bill.
When you focus on the real people we all know who have been impacted by this crisis, you can cut through the politics and deliver crucial results. I am so grateful to everyone across New Hampshire who lent their expertise, insights, and support to make this bill a reality.
There’s still much more work to be done, but together we can tackle the devastating heroin epidemic and make New Hampshire an even safer, healthier place to live.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance abuse, there is help. Click here or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).