The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire are calling for the conservative group, “Citizens for a Stronger New Hampshire,” to immediately pull their television and digital ads attacking Governor Hassan over the growing heroin epidemic.
“Our members, fire fighters, and paramedics see first-hand the heroin epidemic in this state and witness the effects it has on real people and real families,” said David Lang President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire. “It’s beyond despicable that anyone would try to play politics with New Hampshire’s heroin epidemic by launching a false and offensive attack ad.”
“Governor Hassan has been a strong leader in combatting substance abuse since she entered office. She has been on the front lines helping fire fighters, paramedics, and all emergency officials save lives by increasing the availability of Narcan, pushing for more substance abuse treatment options, and working to address the over-prescribing of opioids that can lead to addiction,” Lang continued. “These irresponsible attacks have no place in the effort to combat substance abuse, and I call on this partisan group to immediately take down these reckless attacks.”
House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff also blasted Republicans for passing a budget that “undermines critical priorities” to address public safety issues like the growing heroin epidemic.
“As a former United States Marshal, I’m particularly disturbed by this completely reckless attempt to politicize the most pressing public safety issue facing our state,” said House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff. “Governor Hassan and Democrats in the legislature have made clear that we are deeply concerned that the Republican budget undermines critical priorities for our state, especially efforts to combat the heroin epidemic. It’s time for both sides to finally come together to pass a responsible compromise budget, not launch false and offensive attacks against Governor Hassan.”
The “Citizens for a Stronger NH” have been attacking Governor Hassan in an attempt to weaken her favorability rating as rumors fly that Hassan will run against Senator Kelly Ayotte in 2016.
“It’s truly offensive and reckless that the heroin epidemic is being politicized by Kelly Ayotte’s allies with baseless attacks and accusations not grounded in reality, despite calls from law enforcement to stop playing politics with this critical public health and safety issue,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Ayotte and her allies need to stop meddling in the state budget process and putting partisan politics before the interests of New Hampshire’s people.”
Contrary to the baseless attack ads being pushed throughout the state, Governor Hassan has continually pushed proposals to address the growing heroin epidemic. The New Hampshire Republican Party has stonewalled Governor Hassan’s multiple attempts to address the issue.
Compromise Budget Proposal
Governor Hassan has consistently fought for increased resources to address the heroin epidemic while the fiscally irresponsible Republican budget would create a $90 million budget hole, undermining the state’s efforts to combat the heroin crisis.
The Governor’s compromise budget proposal increased funding for substance abuse by $5.7 million, and leading advocates have made clear that “When it comes to combatting New Hampshire’s growing substance abuse epidemic, Gov. Hassan’s proposed budget compromise is clearly better for both sides than the alternative, or in this case, alternatives.”
Public health and safety officials have also said that the single most important action the state could take today to combat the heroin epidemic is to reauthorize the successful Medicaid expansion program, and treatment providers have indicated they are waiting to expand programs and facilities until they have certainty that Medicaid expansion will be reauthorized. Yet Republicans have refused to re-authorize expansion due to their own partisan politics.
Increasing Availability of Narcan
The Governor has fought to expand the availability of Narcan, working with the Department of Safety to increase the number of public safety officials who can administer the emergency treatment, as well as signing legislation allowing family members to obtain prescriptions for Narcan.
Recommendations to Build on Efforts to Combat Substance Abuse Crisis
Since entering office, Governor Hassan has made combatting substance abuse a key priority, and in July 2015, the Governor’s Senior Director of Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health released 22 recommendations to further strengthen the state’s efforts.
Key recommendations, which are already underway, include expanding access to substance abuse treatment and working to prevent overprescribing of opioids that can lead to addiction.