Heroin and Opiate Addiction

LFDA Editor

Issue Facts

Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug. Increasing rates of heroin abuse and heroin-related fatalities in New Hampshire in recent years have fueled concerns about the drug, leading to a debate about what policy approaches could or should be taken to alleviate NH’s “heroin epidemic”.

Heroin in NH: 
According to the NH Department of Health and Human Services:

  • 3.3% of NH residents over the age of 12 reported using heroin at least once in their lifetime in 2011, up from 1.2% in 2005.
  • Admission to state-funded heroin treatment programs rose from 805 individuals in 2004 to 2,793 in 2016. 

The NH Chief Medical Examiner reported that drug-related deaths have risen over recent years, to a projected 470 deaths in 2016, 24 of which were related to heroin abuse. A total of 282 deaths were related to use of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid often combined with heroin. 

According to data from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the rate of patients with substance abuse problems in NH is estimated to be:

  • 18% for Medicaid expansion patients
  • 17.5% for non-Medicaid covered patients purchasing insurance through the Health Insurance Exchange
  • 9.1% for traditional Medicaid patients 

There are two broad areas of possible policy responses to heroin abuse: increasing treatment funding and strengthening law enforcement. For more information on these policy responses, visit our Heroin Addiction issue pages: 

Heroin Addiction: Treatment Funding
Heroin Addiction: Law Enforcement

Should NH take action to combat heroin abuse?


D Wright Downs
- Springfield

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 3:05pm

Today, drug abuse and its consequences is widely known. It is discussed in schools, shown in movies, and viewed on TV.  Only the weakest minded people do not know what happens when HEROIN is used. The "it can't happen to me" attitude is not a reason to use it, it is an excuse. I believe in the Live Free or Die statement.Anyone who knowingly uses drugs pays the consequences. Anyone who drives impaired pays the consequences. It is time we made people suck it up and pay the price. If the person wants help, the person one time. If there is a relapse, it is on the person to get clean. I am addicted to cigarettes. It is my responsibility to stop smoking and stay off the cigarettes for my health. If I go blind, get cancer or have a heart attack, it is on me, not anyone else. Death comes to those who do not take responsibility for their own health.

Anne Fraize
- Deerfield

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 9:10am

i agree Mr Downs an the tax payer should not foot the bill you have free will use it wisely

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Issue Status

See the Heroin Addiction: Treatment Funding and Heroin Addiction: Law Enforcement pages for updates on this issue. 


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