For Immediate Release
November 3, 2015
CONCORD – Continuing her work to strengthen the state’s efforts to combat the heroin and opioid crisis, Governor Maggie Hassan announced today that at tomorrow’s Governor and Council meeting in Newport, she will ask the Council to join her in calling for a special legislative session to take up comprehensive substance abuse legislation. The Governor’s proposed proclamation would convene the legislature for a special session beginning on November 18, 2015.
“The heroin and opioid crisis is the most pressing public health and safety challenge facing our state, and we must act quickly to give patients, providers, parents and law enforcement better tools to combat this epidemic,” Governor Hassan said. “Our families, our communities and our state can’t afford to wait until April or May for the comprehensive action. This is the most important issue facing our state, and it deserves the full and swift attention that comes from a special session of the legislature. That is why I am calling on the Executive Council to approve a motion to convene the legislature for a special session beginning on November 18 to take up comprehensive substance abuse legislation.”
In calling this session, Governor Hassan intends to limit the agenda to legislative items aimed at strengthening the state’s efforts to combat the heroin and opioid crisis and to help save lives. Governor Hassan will propose draft legislation including:
Governor Hassan also continued to call on the legislature to reauthorize the bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection Program as soon as possible during next year’s legislative session.
“While we will wait until next year to take up the reauthorization of our bipartisan health care expansion plan – which has already provided substance abuse and mental health services to thousands of Granite Staters and is the single most effective step we can take to increase treatment capacity – there is absolutely no reason to wait on taking these other steps, many of which already have strong bipartisan support,” Governor Hassan said.
In order to strengthen the state’s comprehensive approach to combat the heroin and opioid crisis, Governor Hassan continue to stress the need for collaboration from Granite Staters at all levels, as well as federal partners.
“This truly is an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ moment for our state, requiring all Granite Staters – from law enforcement officials, firefighters and emergency medical workers, to families, those in recovery, and our judicial and healthcare systems, to local, state and federal government officials – to fight together each and every single day,” Governor Hassan said.
“Members of the Chiefs of Police Association across the state are confronted by the destruction caused by the heroin epidemic every day,” said New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police President Chief Robert Cormier. “With overdose deaths estimated to exceed last year’s unprecedented number, we cannot afford to wait for action. A special session to pass comprehensive substance misuse legislation will provide important support to law enforcement officials across the state.”
“The heroin epidemic is having a prolonged and devastating impact on families here in Nashua and in communities across the state,” said Nashua Police Chief Andrew Lavoie. “We are doing everything we can from a law enforcement perspective to push back against drugs and the crimes that addiction is responsible for, and I welcome a special session to consider comprehensive legislation to support our efforts.”
In order to convene a special session of the legislature, a majority of the Executive Council must in favor of a motion to approve a gubernatorial proclamation.
To strengthen the state’s efforts to combat the heroin and opioid crisis, Governor Hassan has focused on a comprehensive approach, including working to increase treatment capacity through the reauthorization of the bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection Program, improving provider training, increasing the safe and effective use of Narcan, and strengthening youth prevention and education efforts.
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