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Aug 6, 2015 4:24 PM

Gov. Hassan denies Manchester's request for heroin state of emergency


MANCHESTER - Gov. Maggie Hassan denied a request from Mayor Ted Gatsas to declare a state of emergency in connection with the heroin epidemic.

Gatsas sent Hassan a letter on July 31st requesting the declaration and aid for the city.

"The impacts of the epidemic are challenging the city of Manchester such as no other event, manmade or natural, in recent memory," Gatsas wrote.

Hassan responded Wednesday and said she agreed the epidemic is an emergency. But she said, unlike the synthetic marijuana or "spice" overdose crisis that hit the Queen City hard in 2014, she said it would not be beneficial to declare a state of emergency, because it would not "provide new powers to remove the drug from the street as the declaration did with spice," Hassan wrote.

Declaring a state of emergency over the spice epidemic allowed officials to seize the substance from store shelves. Selling spice is now banned in New Hampshire.

In his letter, Gatsas also requested federal funds be redirected to help fund a drug court. Hassan said after looking into the matter, the funding he was referring to cannot be used for a drug court. She said the money would be used to help the city in other ways, including funding for Narcan, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Hassan said her office will help Manchester apply for grants for drug court funding.


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