A Plan to Overcome New Hampshire’s
Heroin & Opioid Public Health Crisis

Colin knows that fighting the heroin and opioid crisis is our state’s most urgent priority. Nearly everyone knows and loves someone who has fallen into the devastating trap of substance abuse, and we must treat this like the disease it is — a disease that hurts our families, our communities, and our economy.

As Governor, Colin will focus on a four-part strategy to address the heroin and opioid crisis. He was also has been a leader in bringing dozens of other elected officials and candidates to join him in endorsing the nonprofit, nonpartisan New Futures plan to “Turn the Tide” on the crisis, which closely mirrors the plan below.

Together, we must:

1. Boost Resources to Combat Substance Abuse

Permanently Extend New Hampshire Health Protection: Medicaid expansion is a critical cornerstone of New Hampshire’s efforts to help people fighting substance use disorder, ensuring access to treatment for thousands of people. As Governor, Colin will fight to permanently extend the New Hampshire Health Protection Program.

“We must treat substance use disorders like the disease it is — a disease that hurts our families, our communities, and our economy.”

Fully Fund the New Hampshire Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention Fund: As Governor, Colin will work to fully fund New Hampshire’s Alcohol Fund — which is dedicated to supporting prevention, treatment and recovery efforts — for the first time in state history.

Continue to Remove Barriers to Insurance Coverage for Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention: New Hampshire has made progress in ensuring access to insurance coverage for substance use disorder treatment, but there is additional work to do. As Governor, Colin will work to:

  • Ensure Coverage Parity for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment Services: We must ensure that insurance companies are providing substance and mental health treatment service parity. Colin will work with the Insurance Department to ensure that they adequately process consumer complaints in a timely manner and better monitor coverage.
  • Expand Recovery Support Services: Colin will work to remove the barriers to quality recovery support services and expand standards for coverage.
  • Reduce the Costs of Non-Habit Forming Pain Relief Treatment: In some cases, insurance companies’ tiered formulas make it harder and more expensive for patients and their doctors to choose non-opioid pain relievers.

2. Expand Prevention Measures

Support Drug Courts Statewide and Treatment-Based Alternative Sentencing Programs: As Governor, Colin will support Drug Courts and other evidence-based alternative sentencing programs to get people into treatment programs and reduce recidivism.

“We must invest in prevention and education to help stop addiction and drug abuse before it starts by educating students about the link between prescription painkillers and heroin.”

   Ensure Law Enforcement Has the Resources Necessary to Fight Drug Trafficking: As Governor, Colin will work to ensure law enforcement has the resources to fight drug trafficking by supporting Granite Hammer and drug enforcement task forces.

   Expand Prevention Education in New Hampshire Schools: As Governor, Colin will work to fight this epidemic by investing in prevention and education to help stop drug use before it starts. This includes providing every school district in the state with evidence-based, age-appropriate curriculum options for students to understand the deadly link between prescription painkillers and heroin.

   Crack Down on Makers of Opioid Painkillers: Most of our fellow citizens addicted to opioids began first on prescription pain medication. Unfortunately, significant evidence suggests that the maker of the pain medication OxyContin — the most prescribed opioid — may have misrepresented the habit forming nature of the drug, making the crisis worse. Colin recently voted on the Executive Council to authorize a state investigation in this area and will pursue it aggressively as Governor, putting drug companies on notice regarding their marketing practices.

3. Remove Barriers to Treatment

Increase Treatment Resources in Every Corner of the State: As Governor, Colin will work with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure a Licensed Drug & Alcohol Counselor in each of the state’s eleven districts. He will work with area hospitals and nonprofits to boost availability of medical detox beds and treatment capacity, including increased capacity for medically-assisted treatment where appropriate, in every corner of the state.

Expand Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment Workforce: New Hampshire is facing a workforce shortage to help people battling substance use disorder or mental illness. As Governor, Colin will support incentives to encourage practitioners to treat these illnesses; review licensing standards to lessen barriers to entering these professions; and work to expand recruitment and education opportunities.

“In every corner of the state, Colin will work with hospitals and nonprofits to increase availability of detox beds and treatment capacity.”

Integrate Substance Abuse and Mental Health Assessment and Treatment into Primary Care: As Governor, Colin will push forward New Hampshire’s plan to transform its health care delivery system to integrate substance abuse and mental health treatment into primary care.

Expand Data Collection and Use Better Data to Fight the Epidemic and Help People Access Treatment: As Governor, Colin will work to ensure that New Hampshire is using enhanced data to track the epidemic — including wait-times and waiting lists for inpatient and outpatient services — to help law enforcement, health care providers and recovery experts best target their resources in real time.

4. Support Recovery Programs

Strengthen Peer-to-Peer Recovery Programs: Individuals in long-term recovery themselves provide a unique resource and first-hand experience that can help others suffering from substance use disorder. Colin will bring nonprofits and health care providers together to ensure professional, peer-based recovery support is available across the state.

Expand Supportive Housing: As Governor, Colin will work to expand supportive housing to help people successfully recover and rejoin their communities and the workforce, and work with housing nonprofits and area agencies to ensure adequate, professional supportive housing for individuals in long-term recovery.

Supporting People in Recovery in the Workforce: People in recovery often have a difficult time finding work. As Governor, Colin will work with employers to help ensure people who have turned their lives around get the second chance they need and worked so hard for. He will support increasing access to programs that provide bonds (or insurance) to employers who hire people in recovery.

Click here to view a PDF of Colin’s plan.


Paid for by Van Ostern for New Hampshire. Debby Butler, Treasurer.
P.O. Box 3931, Manchester, NH 03105 • (603) 232-5538