Nov 18, 2015 6:36 PM

Landrigan: NH Legislature approves task force on heroin epidemic - everyone not on board

CONCORD - Republican legislative leaders pushed Wednesday for a task force to study the heroin epidemic.

"This is not a time for game or political machination," House Majority Leader Richard Hinch said.

Critics insist it’s a meaningless, feel-good action.

"So we can all vote on something that makes us feel we all did something and we won’t have done a damn thing,’’ says State Rep. Tammy Simmons, R-Manchester.

The plan: form a 26-person group of lawmakers who make final findings in early January.

Maverick lawmakers charged power brokers will cut the deals.

"Instead those names and positions listed are the long-time political insiders from both parties,’’ says Rep. Max Abramson, R-Seabrook.

And one legislator talks out of turn accusing Gov. Maggie Hassan of being asleep at the wheel.

"We all know the governor doesn’t have any leadership ability when it comes to this problem. There is nothing there,’’ says Rep. Jim Spillane, R-Deerfield.

Hassan has an ambitious agenda ... expand drug courts, streamline insurance, make possession of fentanyl equal heroin.

But the Senate’s top Democrat agrees to the final wording.

"There is a disagreement here in terms of the speed and the depth of the solution between our two parties but I think what is most important is that we realize this is a process that can work,’’ says Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn of Dalton.

The key to this compromise. The early reporting deadline in December. Democrats feel that will keep this issue from becoming politicized and part of the US Senate campaign in 2016.


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