Jun 15, 2016 12:35 AM

Forrester unveils plan to fight drug crisis, criticizes Hassan

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – State Sen. Jeanie Forrester says she’s got “a three pronged approach” to battling New Hampshire’s acute heroin and opioid epidemic.

“One is prevention. The other is enforcement. And the final is treatment and recovery,” added the Republican gubernatorial candidate, as she announced her plan to take on the drug crisis.

In a speech and question and answer session at a meeting Tuesday of the Concord Rotary Club, Forrester said her proposal’s called “Take Back New Hampshire. And I believe my plan addresses some of the issues that have not been addressed.”

Emphasizing that “we’ve got to stop those drugs coming into this country,” the Meredith Republican called for “a collaboration of states, work together, and take our national guard to the border to do their training, we can stop the drugs from coming over the border.”

And Forrester also promised help for those recovering from drug addiction, saying “we need to provide them a path to move forward. Helping them find the right job.”

“I’d like to see us partner with businesses to say we’re going to take these folks who are recovering, and we’re going to work with businesses to find a pathway, much like the veterans, to bring them into businesses,” she added.

Later, a supporter of decriminalization of marijuana pleaded with Forrester to “please don’t say that cannabis is a gateway drug. It’s starting to be shown that it’s an exit drug for those addicted to opioids.”

But Forrester quickly answered that “I’m going to have to disagree with you on that issue. I believe strongly that marijuana is a gateway drug.”

“When we’re in the middle of a heroin and opioid crisis in this state, to even think, to even think that we’re going to decriminalize marijuana or legalize marijuana is just outrageous to me to even think that,” she added.

Watch/Read: Gov. Hassan signs into law expansion of state's drug courts

Speaking with reporters after the event was over, Forrester took aim at Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who’s running against Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte rather than make a bid for a third term in the Corner Office.

“I’ve said this a couple of times now. There has to be leadership from the top,” Forrester contested.

Asked by NH1 News if she thinks Hassan is not leading on the issue, Forrester answered “I certainly think that there is more that can be done. I think the fact that she’s out of state more than she’s in state is a real concern.”

“There has been leadership but I will tell you I believe it is at the state level. It’s with the majority leaders, it’s with the Senate president, it’s with myself. As the chair of the Senate Finance Committee leading on this years ago,” she added.

Forrester unveiled her plan one day before Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, a rival for the GOP nomination, was scheduled to present his proposals.

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