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Aug 19, 2015 6:26 PM

NH to receive federal funding for heroin epidemic; Laconia police say arrests not working


CONCORD - Amid a spike in heroin use and deaths across the country, the Obama administration on Monday announced an initiative focused on states along the East Coast.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy is designating $13.4 million in funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program nationwide. $2.5 million designated for the Heroin Response Strategy will be split across five regional HIDTA programs. $265,000 will go to the New England HIDTA to support prevention efforts.

The funding will also pave the way for two paid Regional Coordinator positions.

Those officers will be responsible for connecting law enforcement and recovery facilities as well as compiling data on the number of overdoses in a certain area. Those statistics will help distribute the drug reversing drug Narcan to areas most in need.

Meanwhile, Laconia's police chief says his department has taken a unique approach to getting arrested addicts the help they need.

"Everybody comes to us and says make arrests, make arrests," Chief Chris Adams said. "But I think that’s proven that’s really not working."

His department hired Officer Eric Adams as the departments Prevention, Enforcement, Treatment Coordinator.

Adams connects addicts with treatment facilities, even taking calls in the middle of the night and offering to drive addicts to treatment if they do not have a vehicle.

Prioritizing treatment for drug users over punishment is sparking conversation between law enforcement and lawmakers.

"We cannot arrest our way out of the heroin epidemic," Gov. Maggie Hassan said.

The effectiveness of Adams' work is still being analyzed because the position is only 10 months old.

"I think its rare but we are trying something different in the hopes that it will work," Adams said.

If you live in Laconia and need help, or know someone who needs help finding treatment contact Officer Eric Adams:


603-524-5257 x507

As part of our continuing coverage of the heroin crisis, send story ideas and tips to news@nh1.com


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