Shaheen calls for federal aid to combat heroin addiction

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee to dedicate funds to combating a heroin and prescription drug addiction “epidemic.”

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“Too many lives have already been lost to the heroin and prescription drug addiction epidemic,” Shaheen said. “Smart, strategic investments will help New Hampshire officials fight this epidemic, support treatment, and ultimately protect people across our state from the threat these drugs present.”

In a letter to committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) sent Thursday, Shaheen called for more federal investment in Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants, the Drug Free Communities Support Program and the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.

“While there is no single reason why so many in our communities are turning to drugs, there are many ways we can assist law enforcement and public health officials dealing with the problems that result,” Shaheen wrote. “We must continue to direct sufficient resources to these Department of Justice programs.”

Shaheen said her letter was prompted by a report from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, which concluded that heroin addiction has reached “epidemic proportions” in the state. More than 60 people died last year in heroin-related deaths in New Hampshire — nearly a 50 percent increase in one year.