NH1 News Investigates Stopping the Spike? Manchester police hold forum on NH heroin epidemic
MANCHESTER - There's little argument that the state of New Hampshire is in the midst of the heroin epidemic.
Experts say it's getting worse by the day-but what is being done to stop it?
We asked Melissa Crews from Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, who's been sober from her addiction: how bad did it get? She replied, "It got pretty bad. It's not a pretty sight."
Crews, along with the Manchester police and fire department, and those who help addicts and those in recovery as well as their families, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at the Radisson Hotel Tuesday.
"If we would start implementing some of the solutions that we have talked about for years, we will make a dent in the problem, definitely," says Crews.
Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard hosted the forum with a message to educate and to find answers to the crisis he says is decimating the community.
"The message needs to get out that we are in the throes of the epidemic," says Chief Willard.
The Chief prepared a plan that begins on the streets and makes it way to officials in Concord.
"What we need to do, though, is deal with the addiction pool and get the state to help shrink it through programs, while enforcement then goes after the drug dealers and then tries to stem the flow of the drugs coming into the state," says Chief Willard.
In Manchester alone this year, 47 people have died from heroin overdoses, and 250 have overdosed and have been brought back to life.
Statewide, 97 people have died from heroin, while 143 people died from the painkiller fentanyl-often mixed with heroin to give users a quick high and an even quicker low.
There were a total of 39 cases involving a combination of both heroin and fentanyl.
We asked if the meeting would put a dent in the epidemic?
"I'm not so sure it will put a dent in the problem," says Chief Willard. "It'll illuminate the problem to the public so that they will understand just how a grave an issue this is."
Crews knows first-hand how grave addiction can be and since she's been in recovery for decades, she's giving back what was so freely given to her.
"Now I have these solutions that I share with people and I try to give back what I received," says Crews.
This is the second meeting of its kind in recent weeks. A similar gathering was held by the Merrimack Police Department.