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Oct 30, 2015 8:46 PM

Leaders and lawmakers discuss heroin crisis and what federal government can do

CONCORD - The crisis caused by heroin and fentanyl is a bipartisan issue, and New Hampshire's congressional representatives - Republican Frank Guinta and Democrat Annie Kuster - held a joint roundtable on Friday to talk with the many stakeholders about what Washington's response should be.

"To the individual who is addicted, we want to help you. But to the individual who is a true criminal, who is dong nothing but taking advantage of New Hampshire, we're going to put you in jail," Guinta said.

And colleague Annie Kuster urged professionals from law enforcement, health care and the courts to confront those who want to be president about this crisis,

"I encourage all of you to speak up, to talk to these candidates and say we need to have a national conversation on how we can make a difference in people's lives," she said.

A doctor at Concord Hospital shared a story about how addiction has touched someone she knows.

"The flower girl in Brian's and my wedding -- fast forward 18 years. She now has an addiction to heroin because she injured herself during a soccer tournament," said Dr. Molly Rossignol.

Meanwhile, Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau argued that the courts need to treat addicts not always as criminals but as those with a disease.

"It's very dangerous to say it's a choice, let them suffer their choice. It may be a bad choice at the beginning, but who hasn't made a bad choice, you know, smoking, not exercising, eating terribly," Nadeau said.

State police Col. Robert Quinn says it's imperative to address the cycle of supply and demand.

"So the supply continues to cross our borders and come into our state. Why? Because the demand is high," he said.

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