Press Releases

 

Entries in NH DHHS (624)

Wednesday
Sep172014

NH DHHS - Sununu Youth Services Center Achieves PREA Compliance

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) is announcing the

Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC) has achieved PREA (Prison Rape

Elimination Act) compliance. PREA is a federal law established to address

the elimination and prevention of sexual abuse and rape in correctional and

juvenile systems. SYSC is one of the first juvenile facilities in the

country to achieve PREA compliance.



“This is an incredible accomplishment for New Hampshire as the requirements

to achieve this compliance were very strict,” said DHHS Commissioner

Nicholas Toumpas. “This is a testament to our staff and their commitment

to ensuring the best possible outcomes for the youth in our care.”



The audit looked at 2 years of staff efforts to comply with extremely

detailed requirements. SYSC staff and staff within DCYF worked together to

ensure New Hampshire complied with not only the standards of PREA but the

‘spirit’ of PREA, which is safety of youth and staff. This work included,

but was not limited to the following:





· Approximately 300 different PREA standards were embedded into

existing policies.





· Two new policies were developed specifically for PREA.





· Since August 20, 2013, SYSC has over 170 youth intakes with

orientation forms including Vulnerability Assessments and





· Over 600 PREA forms have been uploaded into the case files of the 170

residents.





· Review of every policy, and re-writing of 27 policies.





The findings from the audit highlight these and other achievements and

recognized SYSC as having better safety and security practices than most

facilities. “Other states would have difficulty meeting the standards that

New Hampshire has set with forms, policies, training curriculum, and

reporting processes,” said William Benjamin, auditor for the US Department

of Justice. “New Hampshire has set the standard for Medical and Mental

Health Care in their treatment programs, a credit to the therapeutic

programs SYSC already had in place.”



“The audit results serve to confirm that the Division is committed to not

only the national compliance standards, but the philosophy and spirit

behind those standards which is youth and staff safety,” said DCYF Director

Maggie Bishop.



To read the complete audit visit:

http://www.dhhs.state.nh.us/djjs/institutional/prea.htm

Thursday
Sep112014

NH DHHS Announces Second Human Case of EEE This Season

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) is announcing the second human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis

(EEE) this season in an adult from Hopkinton. The first human case of EEE

in New Hampshire this season was confirmed on August 22nd in Conway, NH.

Other EEE positive tests this year include 6 mosquito batches and a mule;

there have been no positive test results so far for West Nile Virus (WNV).



Due to this human case, the risk level for human illness in Hopkinton will

be raised to high, and the surrounding towns to moderate risk. Other areas

of the State currently considered at high risk are the Conway and Candia

areas.



“Mosquito seasons are unpredictable,” said DHHS Public Health Director Dr.

José Montero. “West Nile Virus was very common the last couple of years but

EEE was not as prevalent. This acts as a reminder that viruses change,

mosquitoes fly, and there are many factors involved, so since we do know

that both of these disease are present in mosquitoes in New Hampshire, it

is important that everyone remember to take steps to prevent mosquito bites

to themselves and their loved ones.”



In 2013, there were 27 positives for EEE, including 24 mosquito batches and

3 animals. EEE and WNV are transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes.



Symptoms of EEE disease often appear 4 to 10 days after someone is bitten

by an infected mosquito. If you or someone you know is experiencing

flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, contact your local medical

provider. EEE is a more serious disease than WNV and carries a high

mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitis form of the

illness. Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, and

sore throat. There is no specific treatment for the disease, which can lead

to seizures and coma.



You can protect yourself and your family from WNV and EEE with a few simple

steps, such as using effective mosquito repellant, wearing long sleeves and

pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, removing standing

water from around your house so mosquitoes do not have a place to breed,

and by checking doors and windows to ensure screens are in place and in

good condition to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.



For more information about EEE and West Nile Virus visit the DHHS website

at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/arboviral/index.htm and the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov . For questions

contact the DHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496.

# # #



Prevention Guidelines for West Nile Virus and

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus

NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health



Services





1. Eliminate standing water and other mosquito breeding locations.

In warm weather, mosquitoes can breed in any puddle that lasts more than 4

days!

· Remove old tires from your property.

· Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or other

containers. Don’t overlook containers that have become overgrown

by aquatic vegetation.

· Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left

outside.

· Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.

· Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and hot tubs. If not in use,

keep empty and covered and keep covers free of standing water.

· Aerate garden ponds or stock them with fish.

· Turn over wheelbarrows and change water in birdbaths at least

twice weekly.

· Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.

· Remind or help neighbors to eliminate breeding sites on their

properties.



2. Be aware of where mosquitoes live and breed and keep them from entering

your home.

· Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Weeds, tall grass, and

bushes provide an outdoor home for adult mosquitoes, including

several species commonly associated with West Nile Virus and Eastern

Equine Encephalitis Virus.

· Mosquitoes can enter homes through unscreened windows or doors, or

broken screens. Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting

screens. Repair or replace all screens in your home that have tears

or holes.

· Resting mosquitoes can often be flushed from indoor resting sites by

using sweeping motions under beds, behind bedside tables etc. and

once in flight, exterminated prior to sleeping at night.



3. Protect yourself from mosquito bites.

· If outside during evening, nighttime, and dawn hours when mosquitoes

are most active and likely to bite, children and adults should wear

protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and

socks.

· Consider the use of an effective insect repellent, such as one

containing DEET. A repellent containing 30% or less DEET

(N,N-diethyl-methyl-meta-toluamide) for children and adults. Use DEET

according to the manufacturer's directions. Children should not apply

DEET to themselves. Repellents that contain Picaridin or oil of lemon

eucalyptus have also been determined to be effective.

· Vitamin B, ultrasonic devices, incense, and bug zappers have not been

shown to be effective in preventing mosquito bites.





For more information on West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Virus, call the NH Department of Health and Human Services toll-free West

Nile Virus Information Line at

866–273–NILE (6543), or visit the West Nile Virus Website at

www.dhhs.nh.gov .

Wednesday
Sep102014

NH DHHS - New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories Receive Biomonitoring Grant from CDC

Concord, NH - New Hampshire is one of six states recently awarded a

Biomonitoring grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC). The award, which is funded for 5 years, provides $

815,909 in year one to establish and expand biomonitoring capacity in the

state public health laboratory, as part of an on-going effort by CDC.

Biomonitoring is the direct measurement of environmental chemicals in

people’s blood and urine, indicating the amount of chemical that actually

enters the body from all environmental sources.



The CDC State Biomonitoring Cooperative Agreement serves to increase the

capability and capacity of states to conduct biomonitoring and surveillance

to assess human exposure to environmental chemicals. Biomonitoring provides

human exposure data that can assist in making important public health

decisions. Better exposure information helps identify at-risk population

groups and assess the effectiveness of interventions.



“This is a great opportunity for the Public Health Laboratories to help

determine if New Hampshire residents are being exposed to selected

contaminants in the environment and work with partners toward plans for

alleviating these pathways in the future,” said Dr. Christine Bean,

Director of the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories (NH PHL). “I am

proud of the work the laboratorians do here every day and that we were one

of only six states to receive this grant.”



NH PHL will use the funding to purchase laboratory equipment and supplies,

hire and train toxicologists and epidemiologists, and conduct both targeted

and surveillance investigations. Toxicologists will conduct the laboratory

analysis and epidemiologists will work to determine exposure risks of New

Hampshire residents. CDC program staff will provide technical support and

training for the state program.



The NH PHL will begin working on an arsenic and uranium project analyzing

urine and water samples from individuals reliant on private bedrock wells

for drinking water. Residents of selected high-risk communities, as

determined by local geology, will be invited to participate in this

important public health study. Arsenic speciation, which is used to

identify which form of arsenic is present, will be conducted on urine

specimens with elevated total arsenic.



In future years of the project, the PHL will initiate a state-wide

Surveillance Biomonitoring effort, testing blood and urine for chemicals of

concern in New Hampshire. The data from these analyses will be useful in

determining state-specific background levels of contaminants, identifying

emerging concerns, prioritizing resources, and evaluating public health

interventions. Biomonitoring data from New Hampshire will help inform the

Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services

in implementation of multiple priority areas in the New Hampshire State

Health Improvement Plan,

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/documents/nhship2013-2020.pdf.

Tuesday
Sep092014

NH DHHS - “Suicide Prevention: IT (Information Technology) Makes A Difference!”

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), in collaboration with the State’s Suicide Prevention Council is

recognizing National Suicide Prevention Week from September 7-13, 2014.

This year’s theme: “Suicide Prevention: IT (Information Technology) Makes

a Difference” highlights various types of technological tools adapted for

use in the prevention of suicide. “Using technology to help in suicide

prevention efforts just makes sense” said NH Public Health Director Dr.

Jose Montero. “For example, current electronic medical records make the

screening for suicide risk factors more efficient; the tools are embedded

electronically. It makes it easier to identify risk factors so that

treatment can be offered sooner and progress can be assessed.”





“Technology can also help when someone is feeling at risk. There are now

several mobile apps that address safety planning,” said Interim Director of

DHHS’ Division of Community Based Care Services Diane Langley. “A safety

plan is essentially a list of coping strategies and sources of support for

people who are at high risk for suicide. It’s done in conjunction with a

mental health clinician and is generally thought of as an important part of

care. For someone going through a crisis, having immediate access to this

on a cell phone can be life-saving.”





Everyone can help in suicide prevention. Warning signs include:

· Talking about death or suicide

· Hopelessness

· Anger

· Increasing alcohol or drug use

· Isolation

· Mood changes



Recognize these signs and connect the person to help. If you or someone

you know is in crisis or emotional distress, you can call the Suicide

Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The line is available 24 hours a day/ 7

days a week.



To download the prevention apps go to:

For more information on suicide prevention, visit the Suicide Prevention

Resource Center at www.sprc.org or the National Alliance for Mentally Ill

New Hampshire at

www.naminh.org/education/suicide-prevention   or DHHS at

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/suicide/council.htm

Tuesday
Sep092014

NH DHHS Issues Brief: Impaired Driving in NH

Concord – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) is issuing “Impaired Driving in

NH” the sixth in a series of issue briefs highlighting concerns related to

alcohol and other drugs in New Hampshire. This Brief shares not only data,

but resources and strategies available to community stakeholders to assist

in reducing the public safety threat of impaired driving. The release of

the Brief coincides with a statewide Impaired Driver Symposium being held

on September 11, 2014 at the Grappone Center

in Concord, NH.



“Impaired driving is a public safety threat that requires collaboration and

a comprehensive approach”, stated DHHS Drug and Alcohol Service’s Director

Joe Harding. “To this end we have improved our laws, transformed our

rehabilitation system, have recently made substance use disorders treatment

available to low income citizens of our state and are now striving to

improve communication and collaboration between state agencies, members of

the criminal justice system and service providers”.



According to the New Hampshire Department of Safety, there were 4,763 DWI

convictions in

2013, and 32 people died in motor vehicle crashes related to alcohol in

2012, an increase of 19% compared to 2011. Alcohol is not the only problem

on New Hampshire’s roadways. Law enforcement have seen an increase in

other drug impaired driving, reflected in fatal crash data,

that shows that there were 27 drug-related motor vehicle fatalities in

2012, representing 25% of

all motor vehicle related fatalities.



"Impairment continues to be the leading cause of fatal car crashes, and it

is our continued goal

to work on messaging, education and enforcement in hopes of preventing a

tragedy," said New Hampshire State Police Colonel Robert Quinn.



A state-wide Impaired Driver Symposium is being held September 11th at the

Grappone Center

in Concord to enhance collaboration between law enforcement, courts,

substance use disorder service providers and license restoration through

the New Hampshire Department of Safety. The symposium provides an

important opportunity for stakeholders and policy makers to continue to

improve public safety and health outcomes for New Hampshire residents.



The brief provides strategies and resources for communities, professionals,

and the public to learn more about Impaired Driving in New Hampshire and

what they can do. To read Impaired Driving in NH visit

www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bdas/ , www.drugfreenh.org , and
 
www.nhcenterforexcellence.org