New Hampshire Heroin Epidemic

FullSizeRender By: Amanda Maloney
Email: a.maloney1@snhu.edu
Published: June, 28th, 2015

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Heroin use in New Hampshire and across the country has reached epidemic proportions. Since 2012 families and heroin addicts have suffered from the life threatening addiction. Citizens of New Hampshire question whether there are enough treatment options available to help families and those suffering from heroin addiction. I currently believe there can be more resources available for New Hampshire citizens and families suffering from heroin addiction.  Joe Harding the Director of the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services states,

“The numbers of people using heroin have gone up drastically. We understand there’s really an interplay that’s happening between prescription drug abuse, where people may no longer be able to access those drugs or afford them, who may then be switching to heroin to feed their habit” (Sexton, 2014).

Below is a report made by Adam Sexton on WMUR on February 27th, 2014. Joe Harding from the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services comments on the use of heroin in New Hampshire:

(Sexton, 2014).

Heroin is one of the most dangerous forms of addictive drugs on the drug market. Heroin can be smoked, snorted or injected. Heroin has become a cause of concern for New Hampshire because of the steadily increasing amount of emergency room hospital visits by heroin users since 2012. In the Collective Action Brief, NH’s Strategy for Reducing the Misuse of Alcohol and Other Drugs and Promoting Recovery (2014) The NH DHHS Bureau for Infectious Disease Control and Surveillance reports on the number of emergency room office visits in 2012 and 2013:

Emergency Room(Collective Action Issue Brief #5, 2014).

As indicated by the graph above heroin use has increased in New Hampshire since 2012. Heroin use continues to rise into 2015. In a recent report made by Governor Maggie Hassan on January 2015, Hassan (2015) states,

“The rising rate of heroin and opioid overdoses is one of the most pressing public health and safety challenges facing our state. Creating a new license level for law enforcement is a common-sense step forward that will help us save lives, enhancing our ongoing efforts to ensure the health and safety of our communities” (Hassan, 2015).  Since this statement was released in early 2015 heroin use has continued to impact heroin users and families in Manchester, NH.

Heroin Use Affects Heroin Users and Families in New Hampshire

Christopher Cortez, 31, and Zachary Person, 32, both of Manchester (Downey, 2015)
Christopher Cortez, 31, and Zachary Person, 32, both of Manchester (Downey, 2015)

Recently a heroin arrest was made on May 29th, 2015 in Manchester, NH. Two Manchester, NH men by the names of Christopher Cortez, 31 and Zachary Person, 32, were arrested by Manchester police for using heroin in the car in the presence of an 18-month-old child. These two men were found with 0.4 grams of heroin total (Downey, 2015). In addition to heroin affecting the lives of heroin users in New Hampshire heroin continues to affect the lives of families of heroin addicts across the state.

Recently a 19-year-old by the name of Jessica McCassie was killed in a car crash in Candia, New Hampshire with a needle in her arm on the night of June 7th, 2015. She was found dead at the scene. McCassie’s family states Jessica had a history of overdoses and had spent time at rehab since her senior year of high school. Jessica McCassie’s aunt Audrey Musso of Wakefield, NH comments on Jessica’s heroin addiction,

Picture Jessica McCassie’s Crash (WMUR, 2015).
Picture Jessica McCassie’s Crash (WMUR, 2015).

“She had gotten really involved with heroin her senior year, and we could see how it was changing her, her disposition started to change and she wanted to sleep a lot. A month prior to her fatal accident I told her I didn’t want to lose her, and she had no more overdoses left in her” (WMUR, 2015).

With the use of heroin increasing in the state of New Hampshire many have questioned whether there are enough treatment options available to help families and those suffering from heroin addiction.

Are there enough Heroin Use Treatment Options in New Hampshire?

Many citizens in New Hampshire question whether or not there are enough reoccurring treatment options available throughout the state. I personally believe that are not enough continued treatment options available for families and addicts who are suffering from heroin addiction. If a heroin addict is arrested and they do not receive continued treatment they may continue to affect themselves and their family members after being released. I may be somewhat biased because I live in Manchester, New Hampshire and see heroin addicts and their families suffer on the streets on a daily basis.

Currently many heroin addicts are being arrested for heroin addiction but have a hard time recovering from heroin addiction after being released. In the Collective Action Brief, NH’s Strategy for Reducing the Misuse of Alcohol and Other Drugs and Promoting Recovery (2013-2017) The NH DHHS Bureau for Infectious Disease Control and Surveillance reports on the number of admissions to state-funded treatment programs for heroin and prescription opiates from 2004-2013:

state funded

(Collective Action Issue Brief #5, 2014)

As indicated by the graph above evidence of heroin’s re-emergence, and probable correlation with prescription drug abuse is apparent in the number of individuals seeking treatment for prescription opiate and heroin use disorders. In the past ten years, the number of people admitted to state funded treatment programs rose by 90% for heroin use and by 500% for prescription opiate abuse (Collective Action Issue Brief #5, 2014). With the increase of admittance into state funded treatment programs many have questioned why heroin continues to be a problem on New Hampshire streets.

In August 2014 four dozen of New Hampshire’s law enforcement top law officers, health officials and addiction experts came together to discuss their observations related to the current heroin addiction in New Hampshire. Below is a video of the entire roundtable. In part seven of the roundtable a statement is made by Derry, New Hampshire Chief Ed Garone:

(Robidoux, 2014).

According to Garone (2014) “Law Enforcement has to do something about the symbolic relationship with supply and demand, and law enforcement has the ability to affect one side of it—and that’s the supply side, and we do that by arresting. Once arrested, [heroin] addicts have to be incarcerated and when they are incarcerated they need treatment. I’ve been told you can spend however long in prison as an addict, and when you come out you’re still an addict and that is a problem” (Garone, 2014).

If New Hampshire wants the number of deaths and emergency rooms visits to go down they have to focus their attention on providing continued treatment options to heroin addicts and their families. According to the New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s Office, the number of heroin-related deaths rose substantially between 2010-2013. In that time period, the number of deaths increased from 13 to 70, a more than fivefold increase (Collective Action Issue Brief #5, 2014). Although many New Hampshire citizens and I believe New Hampshire needs to spend more time on increasing drug recovery programs, there are many who believe New Hampshire is working to address the current heroin epidemic problem in a constructive way for addicts and their families.

Continued Treatment Options in New Hampshire

Many citizens in New Hampshire believe that New Hampshire is working towards improving treatment options available for addicts and their families in New Hampshire.

According to a press release issued by the NH Department of Health and Human Services in February of 2014 treatment options are becoming more readily available to addicts and their families. Dr. Ben Nordstrom, Director of Addiction Services At Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center states,

“The good news is that there are treatments, and the treatments work. Methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone are all FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorders” (DHHS Issues Brief, Heroin Use in NH Reaching Epidemic Proportions, 2014). Increased heroin addiction programs and healthcare plans could help the citizens of New Hampshire to help fight addiction.

According to the report DHHS Issues Brief, Heroin Use in NH Reaching Epidemic Proportions (2014) The NH Department of Health and Human Services states there could be changes to healthcare coverage in our near future. New changes in healthcare insurance that have or will soon require coverage for substance use and mental health disorders in both the public and private sectors, as well as legislation pending in New Hampshire, that would make healthcare benefits supported by Federal Resources available to lower-income individuals, could make addiction services more readily available across the healthcare system in New Hampshire (DHHS Issues Brief, Heroin Use in NH Reaching Epidemic Proportions, 2014).

Governor Hassan (Hassan, 2015).
Governor Hassan (Hassan, 2015).

Recently one step has been made to help the rising rate of heroin overdoses in New Hampshire. In January 2015 Governor Hassan and the Department of Safety is now allowing trained police officers to administer emergency treatment for heroin and opioid overdoses. In a press release made by Governor Hassan in January 2015:

“In September 2014, the Governor created a Strategic Task Force in order to combat the increase in drug overdose deaths caused by heroin and other opiates throughout New Hampshire in recent years,” said Commissioner Barthelmes, who helped lead the group’s efforts.  “One of the results of those efforts was a recommendation to train and equip law enforcement officers to administer naloxone in an attempt to prevent as many of these unfortunate deaths as possible. As part of that recommendation, administrative rules to authorize law enforcement officers to administer naloxone have been drafted and will be submitted to the Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Coordinating Board for review and comment. I am hopeful that this effort, and others like it, will be successful in addressing this serious public health issue” (Hassan, 2015).

Continued strategies and resources are becoming readily available for the New Hampshire public to help fight the current heroin addiction in New Hampshire. In the Collective Action Issue #5 published in June 2014 the Department of Health and Human Services provides resources for addicts, families and school administrators looking for information on NH substance abuse. Resources on heroin addiction and drug abuse can be found below.

Source information for this article can be found on the page Sources/Resources for New Hampshire Heroin Epidemic Article

Comments are encouraged. If you have comments or suggestions on how to improve this article please leave your name and comments below. You can also email me directly at a.maloney1@snhu.edu or amanda.maloney3@gmail.com

Heroin Addiction Resources as indicated in Collective Action Issue #5

Additional resources on heroin addiction can be found on the page Sources/Resources for New Hampshire Heroin Epidemic Article.

My Reflection

Writing the article Heroin Epidemic in New Hampshire I paid attention to the SPJ’s Code of Ethics as a guide to writing my content. One of the things this code stressed is the importance of seeking truth and reporting it while being accountable and transparent of the content you are writing.

In my opinion the most common things bloggers and journalists should pay is to:

Seek Truth and Report It—Ethical Journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. [Journalists] should verify information before releasing it and use original sources whenever possible.

Be Accountable and Transparent—Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public. Journalists should explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.

(“Society of Professional Journalists Improving and Protecting Journalism since 1909,” n.d.)

A journalist should honest with their information, they should spend the time to gather their information behind their sources and they should be accountable for their research. One thing I learned during this course is that if I want to be a “professional” writer and blogger some day I have to be a credible writer and spend time reviewing the sources in my articles. I consider myself to be a credible and ethical writer because I took the extra steps to cite and validate the content of my sources during this semester and especially within my final project Heroin Epidemic in New Hampshire.

In my final project Heroin Epidemic in New Hampshire I provided source information and additional resources on heroin addiction to my readers. In my final project I also tried to incorporate videos from the speakers speaking about heroin addiction to make the validity of my article more credible. I consider myself to be a fair writer because I chose government websites that provided trusted information for my article, as well as quotes from family members on how heroin was affecting their families. I did not provide any source information that was anonymous to my readers. I strove to be transparent and not remain extremely biased to my readers by providing both sides to the argument on whether New Hampshire is providing enough heroin addiction treatment resources for addicts and families.

For my final project I considered the amount of multimedia I was incorporating in my article. I enjoyed reading the article 12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog in which it discusses the importance of considering the layout and function of your blog when choosing multimedia tools. According to Chelidonis (2011) “Avoid stuffing your blog with as many plugins as possible because they will eventually make your blog hard to navigate and make readers lose focus” (Chelidonis, 2011). All of my pictures and videos add valuable perspective on heroin addiction to my readers without stuffing them with too much information.

While reading the Oconee County blog early this term I enjoyed reading about the Code of Ethics the author created for himself to his readers. In my About Me section on my blog I write the following for my readers, “I’m a citizen of Manchester, NH. In that regard I may be somewhat biased towards believing there needs to be more resources available to those suffering from heroin addiction. I strive to be accurate, fair and transparent, especially in my final project entitled New Hampshire Heroin Epidemic by including both sides on this issue.” I consider this statement and my code of ethics to be extremely important for a reader. They need to know about your intentions and background as a writer to fully digest your message as a writer. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and will continue writing and blogging because I now have a better understanding of writing content in blogs and in professional journal articles.

Works Cited

Chelidonis, I. (2011). 12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog. Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://www.dailyblogtips.com/steps-to-successful-blog/

Society of Professional Journalists improving and protecting journalism since 1909. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2015, from http://www.spj.org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/ethicscode.asp

3 thoughts on “New Hampshire Heroin Epidemic

  1. Hi Amanda! Your article and web page are looking great! I probably won’t be online again until Sunday afternoon, but I wanted to say hello, and thank you for reviewing my web page so quickly! Your suggestions are great. Looking forward to connecting on FB and LI 🙂 So we can keep in touch. I Have a good weekend! Andrea

    Like

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