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Oct 13, 2015 9:43 AM

Landrigan: 2 ranking Republican NH senators come up with drug court grant plan


MANCHESTER - Two ranking, Republican state senators today propose a $2.5 million fund to expand the use of drug courts across the state probably starting with one in this city at the epicenter of the heroin epidemic.

Senate Ways and Means Chairman David Boutin, R-Hooksett, represents Manchester and appears today in the Manchester Aldermanic Chambers with Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro.

"We have all seen the severity of the heroin epidemic in this state," Boutin said.

"Drug court is a very responsible way to address the issue. It diverts people away from going to jail, and get the help they need. What we are seeing is a lower recidivism rate for those that go through drug court. This is a good move forward for the state."

The grant would support half of the cost to operate the drug court; the local government making the application would have to demonstrate that it would cover the other half of the cost to operate.

The bill also creates the Office of the Drug Court with a chief administrator to run the program.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas will be on hand for the unveiling of the bill along with local and state law enforcement, public health and judicial administrators.

Gatsas tried to convince the Hillsborough County delegation last spring to support $450,000 to set up a drug court in his city; the bid narrowly failed, 44-39.

Drug courts are currently operating in Nashua, and Cheshire, Grafton, Rockingham and Strafford Counties. Most receive some, if not nearly all, funding from county governments, which also pay for county attorneys, corrections and sheriff departments.

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