Most recent federal government data from 2011 shows on average one person dies of an overdose every two hours; totaling 4,102. Since 2011 this epidemic has grown far beyond those numbers. In 2014 New Hampshire suffered over 300 overdoses, Maine totaled 208, Vermont reported 65 and Massachusetts estimates their total dead to exceed 1,000.
Any legislation addressing our epidemic should be approached with commonsense and the reality that this will be a substantial effort for all parties involved. I propose three pronged legislation aimed specifically at attacking the networks of trafficker, providing federal grants for opioid addiction treatment and federal prosecutorial aid in the form of grants provided to state and local judicial bodies.
Traffickers transport large quanities of these killer drugs all across our country. Under current law, they will serve terms that are disproportionate to the damage caused to our communities. I call for strengthening the penalties for those convicted and lowering the bar for what constitutes as a federal trafficking offense. A good starting point would be mandatory minimums for anyone trafficking opioids in quanities of 50 grams or more starting at 5 years and increasing by 2 years for every 10 grams.
While the federal government is spending money wildly on a myriad of things. I believe we should allocate emergency funds to help with addiction treatment, specifically opioid dependence. This funding should contain a rider. The rider would stipulate that the funding will only be allocated by the states legislator to pay for addiction counseling both inpatient and out patient, focusing primarily on non-supplement therapies. Any state found in violation of this rider will need to refund all grant monies to the federal government within 30 days.
Grants for prosecutorial aid would infuse money into the judicial systems to setup and maintain drug courts for low level offenders. Relieving the burden placed on the courts and be more of a good behavior system than a money driven court. Monies granted to the judicial would have a stipulation that the offender be entered into a program without supervision costs as well as no drug testing fees. So that they may focus more on lasting recovery instead of fees and fines. All offenders must be sentenced to community enrichment programs where they will serve one day a week cleaning trash in parks and throughout the communities they live in for a term of 6 months starting when weather permits. These grants will also contain the same riders as the treatment programs.
Republican Candidate for NH CD1