Oct 28, 2015 7:22 PM

Landrigan: Gov. Maggie Hassan, legislative leaders put out competing action plans on heroin epidemic

CONCORD - "I think there’s consensus that those are the needs. Precisely how we get there is something we can deal with in a special session," Gov. Maggie Hassan said.

Hold on governor.

Republican legislative leaders agree the heroin and fentanyl epidemic is at crisis but think waiting until January to act is the wiser course.

"We need to deal with them carefully and not rush to judgment on any of these issues and by that I mean not passing legislation that leads to more problems,’’ warned House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson.

But Hassan said the toll of drug overdoses is piling up.

"Each and every day we wait we are losing people to this epidemic. Too many families across our state are grappling with the loss of a family member to drug abuse,’’ Hassan responded.

Here’s what they do agree on. Make penalties for fetanlyl abuse equal heroin, expand drug courts, beef up the state’s drug monitoring and extend strike forces like Manchester’s Granite Hammer statewide.

But they part company on Hassan’s plan by rule to limit physician prescribing opioids

"We don’t want to solve one problem and create a crisis for people who are in a chronic pain situation like my Mom,’’ said Senate Majorityh Leader Jeb Bradley.

Hassan shoots back the only restriction would be a prescription for painkillers given in an emergency room.

"Senator Bradley is doing a disservice to the people of New Hampshire. There is nothing in the draft proposals that we put out that would impact the ability of people with chronic disease to get medication,’’ Hassan said.

Egos seem a little bent out of shape with regards to the special session but the plans of the governor and legislative leaders are remarkably similar in detail which bodes well for the package in January.

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