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New Hampshire hospitals commit $50 million to advance addiction programs

Some of the funding will go toward opioid addiction treatment and prevention, New Hampshire Hospital Association says.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

New Hampshire hospitals are partnering with the state to end ambiguity over addiction treatment funding, especially opioid addiction, committing to spend $50 million dollars over the next five years to help combat opioid abuse.

All 26 acute care hospitals will supply the funding, spread over the next five years, to ensure that the Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund is fully supported. The New Hampshire Hospital Association said the governor's commission will be the driving force behind identifying where the funding will be allotted and what specific programs will go to, but it is expected that at least some of the funding will go towards opioid addiction treatment and prevention.

[Also: Centers for Disease Control to award over $15 million in opioid overdose prevention funds]

"It's been a statewide issue with regard to the health challenges that come out of addition or overdoses. They are working arm in arm with community groups to make sure that people suffering with substance abuse disorders get the help they need," the NHHA said.

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NH Governor Chris Sununu said that "intense discussion" had surrounded how and whether to fully fund the Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund, which has provided resources to fight addiction and substance abuse since it was established in 2000. Last year the state doubled the funds for the addiction crisis to about $7 million.  

"But the debate is always there as to how we get to a fully funded system determined as a percentage of revenue. I am very proud to announce that as of today that debate is over. In partnership with the New Hampshire Hospital Association, we have secured certainty to ensure that this fund will be fully funded for the next 5 years. Period. No more debates or arguments," Sununu said.

He called the $50 million investment the single biggest secured financial investment the state has ever achieved in funding substance use disorder programs.  

Drug addiction has been a scourge on the entire nation for decades now, but in the past two or three years it's the opioid crisis specifically that has paralyzed the country. According one report,

which cited data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription opioids as well as heroin and synthetic drugs like fentanyl were responsible for a record breaking number of deaths in 2016, killing more than 42,000 people. 

New Hampshire ranks third in drug overdoses per capita in the United States.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
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