Press Releases


Entries in NH DHHS (674)


NH DHHS - Promotes Quitting Tobacco with Contest: Dear Me New Hampshire

Concord, NH—The NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division

of Public Health Services (DPHS) is launching a contest with the

hard-hitting media campaign Dear Me New Hampshire. The contest is being

promoted in order to motivate New Hampshire residents to quit tobacco. The

campaign’s call to action, “No one can make me quit, but me,” was born out

of conversations with New Hampshire residents wanting to quit smoking or

using other tobacco products. The contest asks residents, “If you wrote a

letter to yourself about quitting, what would it say?” Those who see or

hear the statewide campaign will be encouraged to write a letter to

themselves with their personal reasons to quit tobacco and have a chance to

enter the contest by filming their own Dear Me video; submitters can

compete to be in a Dear Me New Hampshire ad featuring their own personal

story about wanting to quit tobacco.

“Encouraging people to think about the reasons they have for quitting

tobacco is a positive motivational force to get them to attempt to quit,”

said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DPHS. “And that is what

the Dear Me New Hampshire campaign is asking people to do. The Department

currently offers free tobacco treatment counseling and nicotine replacement

patches to residents who call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and qualify.”

While entering the contest, residents can watch inspiring recordings of

people reading their Dear Meletters, read compelling letters, support other

people who are trying to quit and join the Facebook page, Dear Me New

Hampshire. Residents can enter the contest, view contest details and share

Dear Meletters at the NH Tobacco Helpline’s website,

The Helpline provides no-cost counseling and encouragement for quitting

tobacco use to all New Hampshire residents. According to the 2013

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, 60% of New Hampshire

adults who smoke report wanting to quit.

Contest information can be found at . For

information or free help quitting and nicotine patches, call the NH Tobacco

Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit .

For more information about the New Hampshire Division of Public Health

Services or the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program visit .


NH DHHS - January Is Birth Defects Prevention Month

Concord, NH – In honor of January as National Birth Defects Prevention

Month–2015, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) and the New Hampshire Birth Conditions Program, Geisel School of

Medicine at Dartmouth is inviting New Hampshire women and their families to

make a PACT to reduce the risk of birth defects in their future children by

making healthy choices throughout their reproductive years. Even though

not all birth defects can be prevented, women, including teens, can lower

their risk of having a baby born with a birth defect by following some

basic health guidelines throughout their reproductive years:

Plan ahead

Avoid harmful substances

Choose a healthy lifestyle

Talk with your doctor

Birth defects are common, costly, and critical. Every 4 ½ minutes a baby is

born with a major birth defect in the United States. In New Hampshire, more

than 2,800 new birth conditions have been reported to the NH Birth

Conditions Program since tracking began in 2003. Become an active

participant in Birth Defects Prevention Month and join a nationwide effort

to raise awareness of birth defects, their causes, and their impact.

“The health of women prior to pregnancy can affect the risk of having a

child with a birth defect,” said Stephanie Miller, Director of the NH Birth

Conditions Program. “Diet, lifestyle choices, factors in the environment,

health conditions, and medications before and during pregnancy all can play

a role in preventing or increasing the risk of birth defects.”

“Small steps, such as making healthy choices, visiting a healthcare

provider well before pregnancy, controlling your weight through healthy

diet and activity, and taking a multivitamin every day, can go a long way,”

said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS.

Women and their loved ones are encouraged to participate in their PACT and

take these important preventive steps that can lead to a reduction in the

number of birth defects. Learn more about the effect you can have on birth

defects at the National Birth Defects Prevention Network website at  and .


NH DHHS - NH Takes Top Rank in the Nation for Maternity Practices That Support Breastfeeding

Concord, NH – New Hampshire has been ranked No. 1 in maternity practices

that support infant nutrition and care since 2007, when the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first started collecting birthing

facility survey data. With all 50 U.S. states and some territories

participating, New Hampshire has a lot to be proud of for scoring the top

rank again. The Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC)

report highlights the hard work and commitment to excellence of many New

Hampshire hospitals and birthing facilities working to support


mPINC is a national survey from the CDC that assesses infant feeding care

processes, facility policies, and staffing expectations in maternity care

settings. The report summarizes results from 96% of the 24 eligible New

Hampshire birthing facilities in 2013. It identifies opportunities to

improve mother–baby care in order to improve New Hampshire breastfeeding


“Breastfeeding is a public health priority,” said Dr. José Montero,

Director of Public Health at the New Hampshire Department of Health and

Human Services (DHHS). “We congratulate the 7 New Hampshire hospitals with

Baby Friendly status, as a testament to their dedication and commitment to

supporting breastfeeding. The mPINC report is an excellent tool for

highlighting areas of strength and opportunities for improvement within our

birthing hospitals.”

Hospitals are an important setting for supporting breastfeeding mothers and

babies. The CDC reports that the percentage of hospitals providing

breastfeeding support and advice, as well as prenatal instruction, has

increased. In New Hampshire, the percentage of live births occurring at

Baby Friendly facilities has increased from 16% in 2007 to 36% in 2014.

Despite the State’s high scores in initiating breastfeeding at the

hospital, rooming in, and hospital staff teaching new mothers about the

benefits of breastfeeding and infant feeding cues, more work can be done

around staff training. The mPINC report identified a weakness in training

new staff and having a comprehensive breastfeeding policy for the facility.

The DHHS Division of Public Health Services (DPHS), WIC and Maternal and

Child Health Programs, in collaboration with the New Hampshire

Breastfeeding Task Force, New Hampshire Ten Steps to Successful

Breastfeeding, and Foundation for Healthy Communities received a $15,000

award to participate in an Association of State and Territorial Health

Officers (ASTHO) Breastfeeding Learning Community, along with 19 other

states. New Hampshire has chosen to focus on hospital practices that

support breastfeeding.

“We are thrilled to have received this funding from ASTHO that will enable

us to continue our NH Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding work with New

Hampshire’s birthing hospitals,” said Dr. Bonny Whalen, Director of the

Newborn Nursery at Dartmouth Hitchcock and NH Ten Steps project leader. “We

intend to use this funding to further improve our State’s already excellent

perinatal support for breastfeeding through continued education and skill

building of hospital nurses and physicians. Joyce Kelly, RN, BSN, MPH, and

Lisa Lamadriz, RN, BS, IBCLC, are experienced, knowledgeable NH Ten Steps

faculty who will lead this onsite education to help providers increase

their evidence-based support for breastfeeding.”

To assist breastfeeding mothers access all the great support services

available at our New Hampshire hospitals, DPHS has launched a new online

breastfeeding resource guide called zipmilk. The online resource includes

hospital in-patient and out-patient services, support groups, WIC programs,

LLL support groups, medical professionals, and lactation consultants. To

view additional information visit  and enter your zip code.

For more information about New Hampshire’s efforts to support

breastfeeding, visit . To

view the recent data on breastfeeding from the CDC, visit . To view additional information

on initiatives to support breastfeeding, visit  and .


NH DHHS - Small Increase Seen in Youth Tobacco Sales in New Hampshire

Concord, NH - Tobacco sales to youth in New Hampshire, as measured by the

Synar compliance check program, increased a small amount to 12.9% in 2014,

up from 11.5% a year ago. Synar is a federally mandated effort from the

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to

reduce tobacco sales to youth. To hundred and ninety-six tobacco retailers

across the State were surveyed in this year’s effort.

In accordance with the tobacco regulations, states are required to provide

detailed information on progress made in enforcing youth tobacco access

laws. The Annual Synar Report (ASR) format provides the means for states to

comply with the reporting provisions of the Public Health Services Act (42

U.S.C. 300x-26) and Tobacco Regulation for the Substance Abuse Prevention

and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) (45 C.F.R. 96.130 (e)).

The results of the checks are well under the federal SYNAR requirement of

20%. Research demonstrates that lower tobacco use by youth also decreases

the chance that they will use drugs or alcohol. Data from the New Hampshire

Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) shows 1,132 youth report they usually get

their cigarettes from a store or gas station. This indicates that there is

still a need for merchant education and enforcement in New Hampshire.

Joe Harding, Director of the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) at

the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said, “The 1%

increase from (11.8%) last year to (12.9%) this year shows that New

Hampshire still has some work to do relative to checking IDs for tobacco

products. BDAS will continue partnering with the Division of Liquor

Enforcement (DLE) as well as local coalitions to assist in education

efforts to reduce tobacco sales to youth. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey

reports that 86.2% of high school youth did not smoke cigarettes in the

last 30 days. This reflects well on the education and youth tobacco law

enforcement efforts of the Division of Liquor Enforcement, as well on the

education efforts of the New Hampshire Tobacco Prevention Program.”

BDAS partners with DLE to conduct and report on the results of the

compliance checks. In addition, DLE has been contracted by the US Food and

Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct additional tobacco retailer compliance

checks. The DLE offers trainings to both owners and store clerks to help

ensure that they do not sell tobacco to minors.

BDAS hopes to utilize the Thirteen (13) Regional Public Health Networks to

help assist NH in being able to check every store in the State.

BDAS and DLE plan to increase efforts to lower the number of sales to

youth. These efforts will include increased coordination with local law

enforcement and other educational efforts.


NH DHHS - Announces the Launching of Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Locator Website!

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human

Services’ (DHHS) Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) today announced

the launch of a new website directory for locating alcohol and other drug

treatment services in New Hampshire. The site, , was

developed to help New Hampshire citizens in need of substance abuse

treatment find available service providers.

According to BDAS Director Joe Harding, “This website is a valuable tool

and provides a much needed service. It will help individuals who are in

need of treatment find help and aid healthcare providers in locating

available services for individuals in their care. It also will enable

providers who provide treatment to easily register to list their services

on this website. We want individuals struggling with alcohol and drug

problems and their families to know that, although addiction is a

challenging health issue, treatment is available and recovery is possible.”

While there has been a reduction in the number of individuals reporting

non-medical use of prescription pain medication in New Hampshire, many of

these individuals have transitioned to using heroin as an alternative,

which is cheaper and more readily available. According to the New

Hampshire’s Medical Examiner’s Office, the number of heroin-related deaths

rose substantially between 2010 and 2013—from 13 to 70. Additionally,

emergency room visits related to heroin use more than doubled between 2012

and 2013. Consequently, the number of individuals seeking treatment has

also risen. In the last 10 years, the number of people admitted to

State-funded treatment programs rose by 90% for heroin use and by 500% for

prescription opiate abuse.

“The misuse of drugs in New Hampshire has been an ongoing challenge,” said

DHHS Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Service’s Director Joe Harding. “Not only

with prescription opiate and heroin use, but also with youth and young

adult substance use. Although the rates of misuse among youth and young

adults has gone down, New Hampshire still ranks in the top ten of all

states for alcohol use, binge drinking, marijuana use, prescription pain

reliever abuse, and alcohol or drug dependence. The good news is that there

are concerted and effective efforts underway to prevent alcohol and drug

problems and to dramatically expand the capacity for substance use

disorders treatment services in New Hampshire.”

The website  is also accessible from  and . For more information

on substance misuse and addiction in New Hampshire, visit .