State Leadership Group Releases Five-year Plan to Address Drug Abuse

Concord, NH - A new state strategy to address substance use disorders was

released today at an event in Concord. It sets targets for reductions in

substance use rates among youth and adults, and calls for increased public

financing, as well as greater collaboration among community stakeholders,

state and local government and private industry.

The Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse was the author of

the updated strategic plan, titled Collective Action – Collective Impact:

NH’s Strategy for Reducing the Misuse of Alcohol and Other Drugs and

Promoting Recovery. The plan, developed over the course of the last year

with input from community and state leaders, seeks to address what many on

the Governors Commission see as the state’s single largest public health

threat. A recent study by the advocacy organization New Futures put the

cost of overconsumption of alcohol alone at $1.15 billion per year – a cost

borne by the state as well as the business sector.

The report, produced by Brian Gottlob, principal of PolEcon Research in

Dover, NH, is available here.

“Our ranking as one of the healthiest states in the country does not speak

to the harm caused to New Hampshire by the abuse of alcohol and other

drugs,” said Tym Rourke, chair of the commission. “Rates of substance use

by youth and young adults are among the highest in the nation.

Additionally, many who are in need of treatment for the disorder can’t get

access to the services they need – our plan proposes to change that.”

The plan is tied to other efforts to curb substance use disorders,

including the National Drug Control Strategy.

“President Obama believes in the pursuit of an America built to last – a

Nation founded on an educated, skilled workforce that has the knowledge,

energy, and expertise to succeed in our highly competitive global

marketplace,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control

Policy. “Yet, for too many Americans, this vision is clouded by drug use.

We commend the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other

Drug Abuse for pursuing a smart and innovative plan to make New Hampshire

healthier and safer in a way that treats drug use as a public health issue,

not just a criminal justice issue.”

In a statement, Gov. Maggie Hassan signaled her support for the

Commission’s plan.

“In order to ensure New Hampshire remains one of the nation’s healthiest

and safest states, we must prevent and treat alcohol and other drug misuse

more effectively. The Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Prevention’s State Substance Use Strategy will help improve our efforts to

achieve this important goal,” the governor’s statement read.

Governor Hassan’s current budget proposal includes increased support for

substance use treatment through Medicaid, as well as efforts to bolster

public safety through funding of the Drug Task Force and an increased to

the number of State Troopers.

“We must prioritize the prevention and treatment of alcohol and drug abuse

in New Hampshire,” said Attorney General Michael Delaney. “Our law

enforcement community will embrace this strategic plan and will support the

ongoing partnerships that are critical to advancing the plan’s goals and


Richard Ober, president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, voiced

the importance of a public-private partnership, which includes the

Foundation’s multi-year commitment to funding substance use prevention

services. The Foundation has one of the only significant philanthropic

funds in the country dedicated to issues related to drug and alcohol abuse.

“Our efforts will not succeed without adequate public financing,” said

Ober. “The foundation looks forward to working to ensure our funds are

leveraged wisely through smart public investments to reduce the burden of

this issue to New Hampshire Communities.”