New Hampshire Addiction Treatment
New Hampshire has been one of the hardest-hit states in the nation’s growing heroin epidemic. From 2013 to 2014, the state saw a 40 percent jump in heroin-related deaths. In the same timeframe, there was a 650 percent spike in fentanyl-related deaths.
New Hampshire ranks second-worst in the country when it comes to accessible substance abuse treatment and recovery programs.
Transportation of illicit substances in and out of New Hampshire is unfortunately common. Heroin often comes from wholesale distributors in Massachusetts, specifically the areas of Lawrence and Lowell. Cocaine and other drugs are generally transported from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Canada. New Hampshire’s three primary north-to-south highways – Interstate 95, Interstate 93 and Route 3 – are most frequently used to move substances across the New England region.
Young adults ages 18 to 25 are another population in New Hampshire vulnerable to drug abuse. The state has one of the highest rates of pain reliever abuse and illicit drug dependence in the country. While heroin use is not as common among young adults, they’re becoming addicted to dangerous street drugs such as hallucinogens, MDMA, ketamine and LSD. These drugs are widely used and exchanged at dance clubs, in certain residential areas, bars and other establishments.
Roughly 11 percent of New Hampshire residents have used an illicit substance in the past 30 days. This surpasses the national average of eight percent. However, more people are seeing the devastating effects of drug abuse and are beginning to seek help.
Substance addictions most commonly cited in New Hampshire treatment centers include:
Unfortunately, New Hampshire has been unable to meet the growing demand for addiction treatment programs. There are approximately 100,000 New Hampshire residents in need of substance abuse treatment. Only four percent of those looking for treatment receive assistance from the state’s publicly financed system. This leaves thousands of individuals left to find alternate ways to fund treatment.
If you or a loved one are ready to overcome an addiction, help is available. Contact a treatment provider to discover affordable treatment centers.
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Laws of New Hampshire Drug Use
The possession, manufacture and distribution of illicit substances in New Hampshire comes with serious legal consequences. Drugs are organized into five schedules according to their risk for dependency and potential medical uses. For example, schedules I and II drugs have no medical uses and are highly addictive. These include heroin, LSD, methaqualone, oxycodone, methamphetamine, methadone and cocaine. On the other hand, schedules IV and V consist of substances that may be used for medical reasons and have a lower potential for abuse. Xanax, Valium, Ambien, Lyrica and certain cough prescriptions all fall under schedules IV and V.
Possession charges for controlled dangerous substances (CDS) are as follows:
|Substance||First Offense||Second Offense|
|Schedule I, II, III or IV substance||Class B felony and a fine up to $25,000||Class A felony and a fine up to $50,000|
|Schedule V substance||Up to 3 years in jail and/or $15,000 fine||Class B felony and a fine up to $25,000|
|Hashish – 5 gm or more||Misdemeanor and fine up to $5,000||Class B felony and a fine up to $25,000|
|Hashish – less than 5 gm||Class A misdemeanor||Class A misdemeanor|
If you are found possessing or selling an illicit substance within 1,000 feet of a public or private school, you will face additional penalties. In these situations, sentencing for time in jail and fines will be doubled.
Marijuana Laws in New Hampshire
Medical marijuana passed New Hampshire legislation in June 2013 as part of House Bill 573. A few years later in April 2016, the first dispensary began operating and serving patients. As of August 2016, roughly 1,300 individuals were enrolled in the program.
In New Hampshire, the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chemotherapy induced anorexia
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Elevated intraocular pressure
- Hepatitis C
- Moderate to severe vomiting
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Persistent muscle spasms
- Severe pain
- Spinal cord injury or disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Wasting syndrome
Medical marijuana patients are limited to possessing two ounces at a time. Since home cultivation is strictly prohibited, individuals must obtain their marijuana from an approved state dispensary.
While marijuana for medical purposes is allowed in New Hampshire, recreational use of marijuana is illegal. In June 2016, Senate Bill 498 was enacted to reduce the penalties for first-time marijuana offenders. Criminal charges for a first offense dropped from a Class A offense to an unspecified misdemeanor which involves no more than one year in jail and a maximum fine of $350.
Other legal penalties related to the possession or possession with an intent to sell marijuana are:
|Offense||Criminal Charge||Potential Sentence|
|Any amount||Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in jail and $350 fine|
|Possession with an Intent to Sell|
|Less than 1 oz (first offense)||Felony||Up to 3 years in jail and $25,000 fine|
|1 oz – less than 5 lbs (first offense)||Felony||Up to 7 years in jail and $100,000 fine|
|5 lbs or more (first offense)||Felony||Up to 20 years in jail and $300,000 fine|
Subsequent offenses often carry greater criminal charges and sentences. If the crime happens within 1,000 feet of a school zone, fines and jail time will be doubled. Additionally, individuals under the age of 21 will face a driver’s license suspension – one to five years for those under the age of 18, and 90 days to one year for individuals under the age of 21.
Addiction Treatment Laws in New Hampshire
With an alarming rise in heroin and opioid abuse, New Hampshire has enacted harm reduction laws. Harm reduction laws are put in place to reduce the damage caused by illicit substances. They may consist of naloxone laws, methadone clinics, clean syringe access, prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and high intensity drug trafficking area (HIDTA) programs. Each harm reduction law aims to reach out to those in need, as well as keep New Hampshire neighborhoods safe and healthy.
Naloxone Laws in New Hampshire
House Bill 271, relating to the distribution of naloxone, passed legislation in May 2015. The law allows family members, friends and individuals who are at risk of an overdose to access naloxone. Naloxone works by reversing the damage caused by an opioid overdose. The medication starts taking effect within two to five minutes after administration and will remain in the body’s system between 30 minutes to one hour.
Between 2012 and 2015, there was a 203.7 percent increase in the number of emergency medical service cases involving Narcan, the brand name of naloxone. The largest jump during this time was from 2013 to 2014 with an 83 percent increase.
Since the law’s enactment, thousands of naloxone kits have been distributed to law enforcement agencies, emergency rooms, community health centers and other local substance abuse organizations. Agencies across the state will learn how to inform and train the general public on administering naloxone.
Once training is in place, concerned citizens can then go to these organizations that have the inventory, get trained themselves on how to administer the naloxone and then take it with them.
Methadone Clinics in New Hampshire
Withdrawal from an opioid addiction can be a painful and uncomfortable process. Methadone helps relieve withdrawal symptoms and decreases the chance of a relapse.
In New Hampshire, methadone clinics provide the medication to those who are struggling with substance abuse. It helps by eliminating opioid cravings, as well as lessens painful withdrawal symptoms.
The benefits of methadone clinics in New Hampshire communities include:
- Reduces the urge of using opioids
- Blocks a drug’s euphoric or “high” effects
- Provides ongoing counseling and recovery support
- Eliminates withdrawal symptoms
Due to a high demand for methadone, many New Hampshire clinics have waiting lists. Some waiting lists are only a few days, where others can be up to several weeks.
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program
Due to the large amount of illicit drugs traveling through New Hampshire every day, the state is part of the New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. Local, state and federal agencies work closely together to stop drug trafficking efforts along highways, in airports and near seaports.
The New England HIDTA’s main goals are to:
- Reduce drug availability by eliminating drug trafficking organizations
- Decrease the harmful consequences of drug trafficking
- Improve the efficiency of law enforcement organizations and their efforts with the New England HIDTA
Through the use of innovative technology and equipment, the New England HIDTA is able to detect criminal groups and disrupt the transit of illicit substances. Proponents of the HIDTA program hope to lower drug-related crimes as well as keep the residents of New Hampshire safer.
Treatment Centers in New Hampshire
In an effort to help New Hampshire combat the growing heroin epidemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be awarding federal grants to expand access to treatment. New Hampshire is expected to receive an estimated $1 million for medication-assisted treatment and roughly $250,000 for drug overdose data surveillance.
“The Department will use the funding to significantly expand the availability of Medication Assisted Treatment in Manchester and Nashua, two of the areas hardest hit by the opioid addiction crisis…The opioid data surveillance funding will increase the ability of the Department and the Office of the Medical Examiner to access data and act on timely information that can help prevent overdoses.”
No matter where you decide to get treatment, make sure you find a program that offers the therapies, activities and amenities that are most important to you. Don’t limit yourself to facilities that are in your state. Sometimes an out-of-state facility will have everything you’re looking for and offer you the greatest chance of long-term sobriety.
If you’re ready to seek treatment, there is help available. Contact a treatment provider to find available treatment options.