The heroin and opioid crisis is the most pressing public health and safety challenge facing New Hampshire, and Governor Hassan is leading bipartisan efforts to stem -- and reverse -- the tide of this horrible epidemic.
The Governor has focused on a comprehensive approach that includes supporting law enforcement while strengthening prevention, treatment and recovery efforts. In early 2013, a month after taking office, she called for increased funding for drug task force teams, providing substance abuse coverage parity in existing Medicaid coverage, and expanding Medicaid which has already brought access to substance abuse coverage to more than 46,000 more Granite Staters -- and she signed all three measures into law. She also helped launch New Hampshire's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, increased the availability of Narcan to help reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, increased resources for State Troopers to work with local police to fight the crisis and fought for rules to help protect people from becoming addicted to opioids.
In November 2015, the Governor called for a special legislative session to pass comprehensive substance abuse legislation to further strengthen the state's response to the ongoing public health crisis, leading to legislation she signed into law in January of 2016. The final bills included many provisions from the comprehensive proposal that Governor Hassan had put forward, such as cracking down on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid linked to hundreds of overdoses, streamlining access to treatment through insurance reforms and strengthening New Hampshire's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. While this bipartisan legislation is an important step forward, the Governor made clear that there is far more work to do, including providing additional resources for law enforcement, treatment, prevention and recovery, expanding access to drug courts and re-authorizing New Hampshire's bipartisan health care expansion plan that experts have said is critical to combating the state's substance abuse crisis.
As a Senator, she will lead the fight to ensure that states have the resources they need to support law enforcement and strengthen treatment and prevention efforts. She will work to help providers identify substance abuse histories and allow patients easier access to opioid addiction treatment. And she will seek to foster better coordination and communication between the federal, state and local governments' efforts to combat this public health and safety crisis.