Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01), along with U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Representative Annie Kuster (NH-02) welcomed $1,619,765 for the Drug Court Program (DCP) at the New Hampshire Department of Justice (NH DOJ). The funding will support NH DCP's efforts to combat the substance use disorder crisis and stem drug-related overdose deaths, which have surged during the pandemic. This Drug Court grant funding marks a stark increase from its 2019 level at $493,000.
Specifically, the grant will help NH DCP:
Address barriers to access treatment, including by providing transportation services in rural communities;
Enhance the drug court database to track recidivism and improve utilization;
Expand evidence-based practices training; and
Examine recidivism rates of drug court participants and validate the statewide risk assessment tool
"Expanding our efforts to address the substance abuse crisis is of the utmost importance," said Congressman Chris Pappas. "These funds will ensure Granite Staters get the care they need by addressing the barriers individuals face when seeking treatment and expanding training in evidence-based practices. As we work to combat this crisis, I remain committed to collaborating with health experts and first responders to bring the best possible care to families and communities across our state."
"The substance use disorder crisis has taken too many lives and torn too many Granite State families apart, and sadly it's only gotten worse during the pandemic. New Hampshire's Drug Court Program is on the frontlines of delivering life-saving treatment programs to offenders with substance use and mental health disorders. And let's be clear, we know that we cannot jail our way out of this public health crisis. All Granite Staters need resources to respond to the scope of this epidemic, and I'm pleased to see this funding will help our courts reach more individuals in need," said Senator Shaheen. "From assisting with transportation to treatment facilities to tracking rates of recidivism, this funding will make a difference in addressing the root cause of a drug court participant's offenses, protecting public safety and ending this epidemic once and for all. I'll continue delivering the resources our state needs to ensure another generation doesn't succumb to this tragic crisis."
"New Hampshire's Drug Courts have been instrumental in responding to the substance use disorder crisis, ensuring that we find a sustainable path forward for Granite Staters in need," said Senator Hassan. "This funding is welcomed news , and will provide more tools with which to break down barriers to care and expand evidence-based training so that we can improve treatment for those battling substance use disorder. I will continue to work to get our state the resources that we need to address the substance misuse epidemic."
"In order to end the addiction and overdose epidemic here in New Hampshire, we must prioritize evidence-based policies to expand access to treatment and reduce recidivism," said Rep. Annie Kuster, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force. "I'm thrilled to see New Hampshire's Drug Court Program receive more than $1.6 million to help connect rural communities to recovery services and bolster existing programs to meet the needs of those across our state. I will continue working across the aisle to deliver critical support to end the substance use crisis here in New Hampshire."
Shaheen has spearheaded crucial legislation and funding to stem the substance use disorder epidemic, including through Shaheen's leadership on the pivotal Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, which oversees funding for the Department of Justice and its related anti-opioid and methamphetamine programs. In government funding legislation for fiscal year (FY) 2022 announced by the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen helped secure $615 million to help communities and first responders respond to substance crises, including opioid addiction and drug trafficking. Shaheen also supported the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 3.0 to help combat the opioid epidemic.
In government funding legislation signed into law in 2020, Shaheen again included a key provision from the 2019 version of her legislation - Turn the Tide Act, which she has reintroduced this year and that Senator Hassan cosponsored - to provide flexibility for treatment providers to use State Opioid Response (SOR) grant dollars to help patients suffering from meth and cocaine dependency, in addition to opioid use disorders. Shaheen wrote the provision in response to discussions with New Hampshire treatment providers. The FY 2021 funding legislation also provided $1.5 billion in SOR grant funding, as well as the continuation of a 15 percent set-aside that Shaheen and Hassan fought to secure in 2018 for hard-hit states like New Hampshire. Over the past four years, New Hampshire has received approximately $92 million from these grants Shaheen and Hassan helped secure to combat the opioid epidemic in the state, with the hardest-hit state set-aside responsible for the majority of those funds. These combined efforts led to a more than tenfold increase in federal treatment and prevention funding for New Hampshire.
Senator Hassan has also worked to stem the illegal flood of drugs such as fentanyl that have helped fuel the substance misuse crisis. In 2019, the Senator traveled to China to stress the importance of strengthening efforts to combat fentanyl trafficking from China. Senator Hassan also attended the White House signing ceremony in 2018 for the bipartisan INTERDICT Act, which she cosponsored, to help ensure that U.S. Customs and Border Protection have the tools to help detect and intercept fentanyl being smuggled into the United States -- much of which originated in China. Senator Hassan also secured a provision in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act to curb the shipment of deadly fentanyl and other synthetic drugs being sent through the mail to drug traffickers here in the United States. Last year, bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senator Hassan became law to help prevent opioid trafficking by further ensuring that personnel at the Department of Homeland Security can more easily detect synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Additionally, the Senator recently joined a bipartisan group of Senators in reintroducing that Providing Officers with Electronic Resources (POWER) Act to provide law enforcement officers with better technology to detect and identify synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.