Oct 10, 2014 4:58 PM

Senator Kelly Ayotte, Seacoast officials meet to tackle heroin issue


PORTSMOUTH - Senator Kelly Ayotte joined law enforcement and health officials in Portsmouth to discuss the growing heroin problem on the seacoast Friday.

The group discussed ways to tackle the problem, which has led to an increase in crime and overdoses in seacoast communities. Health officials shared their ideas on the connection between pain killers and heroin addiction, and the lack of treatment facilities in the state of New Hampshire.

"New Hampshire's difficult. There are a lot of really good providers out there doing really good work but with limited capacity to see people. The average wait for people is around four to six weeks to get into any type of treatment," said Justin Looser, Director of Behavioral Studies at Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

Looser, along with several others at the forum said the first step is beefing up awareness in the local community.

Rockingham County has been designated a high intensity drug area by the National Drug Control Policy, joining Hillsborough County. Senator Ayotte said she's both encouraged and concerned by the label.

"This will bring more federal resources to bear on the enforcement end to stop the drug dealers and the influx of heroin and other drugs in our state, so we've got that challenge. And then also more treatment opportunities for those who become addicted to whether opioids, heroin or any other illegal substance," she said.

Portsmouth officials are inviting the public to participate in the second Access to Recovery Day for a discussion on the increase in heroin on the seacoast. That meeting will take place on October 20th in City Hall.


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