Friday, November 22, 2013
In the News Today
Friday, November 22, 2013
In the News Today
Concord – Although New Hampshire is often ranked as one of the healthiest
states in the nation, according to national surveys, it ranks among the
poorest for rates of young adult alcohol abuse and other drug use. The New
Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Bureau of Drug and
Alcohol Services (BDAS) details the findings in the Issue Brief, “Young
Adult Substance Abuse in New Hampshire.” According to the brief, binge
drinking among the State’s 18 – 25 year olds is 9% above the national
average; also in that same age group, 27% report using marijuana on a
regular basis, placing New Hampshire fifth highest in the country for both
of these categories.
Binge drinking poses significant risk for car crashes, unintended sexual
activity, violence and other short-term problems. Regular binge drinking
and other drug use increase the progression of substance use disorders, are
related to lower academic achievement, and decrease productivity on the
“The vast majority of those who develop alcoholism and drug addiction began
drinking and using drugs in their teens, and the young adult years are
often where problems either diminish or get worse,” stated BDAS Director
Joe Harding. “It’s a critical age where we need to be talking more,
whether we’re a health clinic worker, a parent, an employer or a college
“Young Adult Substance Abuse in New Hampshire” Issue Brief provides
statistics on young adult substance abuse and information on resources
available to health clinics, colleges, businesses, and others that interact
with the state’s young adult population.
“The State is starting to understand the economic impact of the substance
abuse problem among our young adults,” stated Tym Rourke, Director of
Program and Substance Use Disorders Grantmaking at the New Hampshire
Charitable Foundation. “Employers are having a hard time finding young
workers who can pass necessary drug tests for employment in some
industries, and once hired, employees who misuse alcohol or other drugs
start costing the business in other ways. We need to be talking about it,
but that’s not all we can do, we need to take action as well.”
The brief provides recommendations derived from the State’s March 2013
strategic plan, Collective Action – Collective Impact: New Hampshire’s
Strategy for Reducing Alcohol and Other Drug Misuse and Promoting Recovery,
a publication of the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and
Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment.
For more information visit www.drugfreenh.org ,
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Wine consumers have a new policy advocate: the American Wine Consumer Coalition. As you know, there's an ongoing effort by CEI and others to increase consumer freedom and access to wine from direct shipping, supermarket sales, and, generally, deregulation. I thought you might be interested in my write up on the topic, on Openmarket.org.
With the launch of The American Wine Consumer Coalition today, U.S. wine consumers now have a place in public policy debates for the first time ever. Brainchild of award-winning wine blogger and wine industry public relations consultant Tom Wark, the new organization will focus on increasing consumer rights to access wine via direct shipping, supermarket sales, privatization, and more! Wark is executive director, and AWCC’s president is David White, who this year won “Best Overall Wine Blog” at the 2013 Wine Blog Awards for Terroirist: A Daily Wine Blog (congratulations, David!). I serve as a member of the AWCC board.
Check out the AWCC website and member benefits. And most importantly, spread the word. Email friends, share on Facebook, Twitter, and more.
Here’s a little more information from AWCC’s press release:
“In 2011 Congress held hearings on a bill (HR 1161) that, if passed, would have fundamentally and negatively impacted consumer access to wine, yet not a single consumer was invited to testify before Congress,” notes AWCC President David White. “While this was not the first nor the last time those most impacted by these kinds of deliberations were shut out of the conversation, this is when it became clear to a number of wine consumers across the country that their voice is ignored, and that something needed to change.”
Today, numerous states block consumer access to wine and the ability of consumers to enjoy a simple bottle as a result of a variety of archaic and protectionist laws that serve special interests, but not the basic interests of wine consumers:
Among the issues that are high on the AWCC’s agenda are legal consumer access to wine via direct shipment, grocery store wine sales and privatization efforts that take the government out of the business of selling wine and putting it into the hands of the much more responsive free market.
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
“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.”