NH DHHS - State Leadership Group Tackles Growing Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

Concord, NH – A group of state government, healthcare, community and

business leaders are gathering in Concord, New Hampshire today to develop a

coordinated response to the growing problem of prescription drug abuse in

New Hampshire.

The Governors Commission on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention,

Intervention and Treatment convened the one-day summit as part of their

work to develop a statewide strategic plan to combat what many see as an

epidemic in New Hampshire.

“Prescription drug related deaths, 172 in 2010, have more than quadrupled

over the past decade and a half,” says Joseph Harding, New Hampshire

Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Drug and Alcohol

Services’ Director and Executive Director of the Commission. “It will take

the efforts of many to turn the tide on this issue.”

This summit builds upon other efforts already underway to reduce

prescription drug misuse, including public take-back days, improved

training of medical professionals, as well as efforts by law enforcement

and community groups.

“We’re fortunate in New Hampshire to have many local and state leaders well

aware of the damage prescription drug abuse is having in our communities,”

states Tym Rourke, Chair of the Commission, “The Commission felt that our

best role would be to bring together the threads of efforts underway into a

unified plan.”

When completed, the state’s prescription drug strategy will provide a

unique roadmap to reducing the harm caused by prescription drugs. “Only a

small handful of states have developed such a plan” states Harding. “New

Hampshire can hopefully pave the way for others.

A Federal Prescription Drug Strategy has already been released. Gil

Kirlikowski, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy

will be featured speaker at today’s summit, along with NH Attorney General

Michael Delaney, Dr. Seddon Savage from Dartmouth Medical School, and

several others.

The Commission will release a final version of the New Hampshire

Prescription Drug Strategy in December.