by Robert Booth, Executive Director, Center for Clinical Social Work
In the state of New Hampshire—unlike neighbor Massachusetts, which recently reported a second-year-in-a-row decrease (8.3%) in overdose deaths—the opioid addiction epidemic continues to grow more deadly.
As mentioned in an earlier piece, the federal government—the only possible agent of across-the-states reforms—has chosen to play virtually no role in stopping the epidemic. This leaves states to set their own policies and fund their own programs. Massachusetts, like a few other states, has made a big commitment to its citizens, while New Hampshire, like most others, has done almost nothing. The result: New Hampshire leads the nation in per-capita deaths (sometimes six per day) caused by fentanyl (50 times more toxic than heroin) and other synthetic opioids (most more toxic than fentanyl).
The state’s former chief medical examiner, Dr. Thomas Andrew (who has recently left medicine for religion as his profession), stated that opioid abuse had been “a slowly unfolding catastrophe” that suddenly crested: in 2017, the state lost 1,820 citizens to opioid-related deaths.
There is little hope for any federal relief. What is happening in your state with regard to this crisis? Are you capable of taking a direct role in creating or influencing the agencies, governor, and lawmakers who—as they do in Massachuesetts—should be addressing it? It is literally a matter of life or death, perhaps for your own clients and their families.