Between April and June 2015, over 13 million doses of Schedule II opiate painkillers were dispensed from pharmacies in New Hampshire. The state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program suggests that 108,398 patients accounted for 16,285,259 prescriptions for Schedule II medications during that time. Painkillers such as Morphine, Fentanyl, and Oxycodone contributed to roughly 80% of those prescriptions.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services), New Hampshire has the highest incidence of drug abuse (not including marijuana) for residents 18-25 years of age.
In New Hampshire, the number of confirmed deaths due to prescription drug overdose is skyrocketing. Drug overdose related fatalities stood at 174 in 2010, 203 in 2013, and 431 in 2015. State health officials fear 2016 could be even worse. In fact, 27 drug overdose deaths have already been reported in 2016 (16 men and 11 women) and 84 additional cases are awaiting final toxicology reports.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health also noted that in New Hampshire, ninety-one percent (91%) of drug overdose fatalities in 2015 were opioid related (Fentanyl being the most common offender).
The New Hampshire Bureau of Emergency Medical Services stated that the drug Naloxone (a.k.a. Narcan which is indicated for opioid related overdose) was administered to approximately 2,000 patients in 2014; an increase of roughly 80% from 2013.
Addiction to opiates like fentanyl and heroin is not new to NH, but the rising death-toll is of great concern for residents. In fact, New Hampshire residents consider the opioid crisis to be one of the most important voting “policy considerations” for the upcoming presidential election.
In fact, when Hillary Clinton visited New Hampshire for her presidential campaign, one of the first questions asked at a town hall meeting was her vision for tackling the opioid epidemic. The former Secretary of State acknowledged that opioid dependency and overdose was one of America’s most urgent healthcare priorities.
It is important to mention that New Hampshire is not alone; many other states in the U.S. are also struggling to contain the increasing death-toll related to opiates. The Infographic below features some critical stats and information on New Hampshire’s opioid crisis:
New Hampshire Opioid Crisis Infographic
The limited number of treatment options for opiate dependency in NH is a major concern for residents, law enforcement, health officials and politicians.
In a recent press release, Governor Maggie Hassan stated that the heroin and opioid crisis is the biggest challenge that New Hampshire is facing and called on lawmakers to provide local healthcare and law enforcement with more effective resources to fight the epidemic.
The state has started distributing awareness materials to help educate the public, health care providers, lawmakers, schools and businesses about the threats and consequences of opioid misuse.
Some of these educational materials include videos, posters, flyers, clinical rack cards, and clinical posters. Additional resources for prescribers and pharmacists include FAQ guides on NH Naloxone Access Laws and instructional materials on Intranasal, Auto-Injector, and Intramuscular applications.
To access these free educational materials and videos, visit http://drugfreenh.org/anyone-anytime.
To order bulk quantities of the awareness materials, please fill out the Campaign Request Form. For more information, please contact the NH Center for Excellence at 603-573-3333 or email: [email protected]