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Sen. Hassan talks about new funding bill at opioids talk

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 12. 2018 8:55PM

MANCHESTER — City leaders were encouraged on Monday to hear about plans for federal funding in a congressional bill to help fight the opioid epidemic.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan was in Manchester for a roundtable discussion with Mayor Joyce Craig, Agent Jon DeLena of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Manchester police Chief Nick Willard and fire Chief Dan Goonan.

Hassan received updates about how Manchester’s efforts against the epidemic have been working and provided some details from a bill Hassan is cosponsoring in the U.S. Senate.

Hassan, D-NH, said the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act 2.0 includes provisions to support first responders in their various roles in an “all-hands-on-deck” battle.

“This bill is going to give us the opportunity to begin to articulate best practices that places like New Hampshire are developing,” Hassan said during the discussion at City Hall. “We hear a lot of people talking about ‘what we need is money to the front lines,’ but I’m not hearing the kind of commitment all the time to the actual resources that we need to turn this around.”

Hassan said the bipartisan bill calls for $6 billion, and directing some of that toward ensuring the safety of firefighters, police officers and EMTs by getting them the resources they need most.

“We have been reassured that this time around the funding will go to the places that need it the most, but we’re going to fight to make sure that that actually happens,” Hassan said.

Willard was especially pleased to hear the per-capita system that he felt short-changed New Hampshire has apparently been scrapped.

“The formula that they’re going to use to distribute the money this time is more appropriate. The last time they did it strictly on demographics, not on need,” Willard said after the discussion.

Craig said additional resources are needed to continue improving Manchester’s successful Safe Station program, which Goonan said he’s asked about almost weekly, by ensuring patients will get the kind of treatment they need after taking that first step and asking for help.

“They’re coming in but we’re not always able to get them to where they need to be. That’s the critical component,” said Craig, who also told Hassan that Manchester needs more police officers on the street.

Hassan was New Hampshire’s governor in the early years of the epidemic, which has shifted primarily to fentanyl abuse from heroin.

Crime Health Manchester State Government Heroin

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