Hillsborough County Exec Committee to city: Heroin epidemic is a Manchester problem

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The only way to get a drug court in Manchester is to contact your Hillsborough County reps, says Mayor Gatsas.
The only way to get a drug court in Manchester is to contact your Hillsborough County reps, says Mayor Gatsas.

MANCHESTER, NH – Last Friday Mayor Ted Gatsas and Alderman Pat Long made their case to the Hillsborough County Delegation’s executive committee, asking for $440,800 from the county’s $5.5 million budget surplus, to launch a drug court in Manchester.

They were completely shut down.

“People are dying every day,” said Gatsas. “In the last three weeks I’ve had five mothers come into my office telling me they are desperate for help for their kids. Nothing like this has ever happened before.”

“Right out of the gate? They said, ‘This is a Manchester problem,” said Long, who is a member of the executive committee. He pitched the modest program that would provide one year of drug court for up to 90 participants, with 100 percent of the money going to help save addicts from the cycle of addiction and incarceration that, in too many cases, ends with death. The plan for a Manchester drug court would be the most innovative and cost-effective model in the state, said Long.

But the executive committee says the county shouldn’t have to foot the bill for a drug court in Manchester, a mentality that left Gatsas and Long speechless.

“It’s befuddling to me that anyone could say heroin is Manchester’s problem. They make it sound like it’s just here, and that it doesn’t affect these other communities,” said Gatsas.

Drug courts are an innovation in the wake of spiking drug arrests and a cycle of addiction that is perpetuated by the current judicial system. Addicts are sentenced to one year of counseling, recovery and maintenance. It’s not a walk in the park, says Gatsas. If you miss a court date, you’re out. Judges hold participants feet to the fire. It’s rigorous, but has been getting results in other counties around the state, with a 64 percent success rate, said Gatsas.

Which was another sticking point for Gatsas – in other counties drug courts are paid for out of those county budgets, or some combination of county money and federal grants.

Manchester is in Hillsborough County, says Gatsas, and so a good portion of the county’s $5.5 million surplus comes from the taxpayers of Manchester.

Long said it was a reality check for him, to realize there are still people living in New Hampshire who aren’t plugged into the scope of the statewide heroin epidemic.

“The thing that blew me away was  speaking to some of these Reps, like Neal Kurk from Weare, who said to me something like, ‘Manchester always has these issues and you always overcome them.’ I looked at him and I said, ‘This one, we’re not.’ He told me he understands our cry for help, but he doesn’t believe the county should be paying. Somebody else, should, he said, like judicial or the state. In the meantime, while they’re trying to  figure out who’s going to pay, people are dying,” says Long. “We need this money and we need to start today.”

Long said he got some figures from the state on which municipalities in the county between January and April had emergency calls that required Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of a heroin overdose.

Goffstown, New Boston, Hookset, Candia, Auburn – there were plenty of smaller towns on the list, although, even if 77 percent of the calls did come for Manchester, there are plenty of addicts who find their way to Manchester from the smaller towns in the county– where else will they be able to find bus service, social services, a hot meal, or someone to share a flop-house floor with.

Long said that Judge Nadeau explained that the way it works now is if someone is arrested for drugs, they’re put on probation. Within a month, without intervention, they’re using again and back in custody, so they go to county jail. And once they get out of county jail, and get busted again, they go to state prison.

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Click on the map to find contact information for each Hillsborough County state rep.

“And what gets me is, if a cop arrests someone and books them and takes them to Valley Street, their insurance shuts off, and if they’re addicted, the county will pay for it instead of taking them to a counselor and letting their health insurance pay for it,” says Gatsas. “It makes no sense. You’re going to hear me screaming about this.”

“The most important thing is you have to have an end game for these people,” Gatsas says.

“I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out how do I get to the Neal Kurks of the world. You’d think everybody has been touched by this. What we need is someone from Weare who is going through this to tell Neal Kurk their story,” Long said.

Gatsas agrees, that until the 123 Hillsborough County representatives hear from their constituents, that this is needed, nothing will change. He is going to call a meeting of for a meeting of Manchester’s delegates. And Gatsas urges residents to get on the phone or send email to every Hillsborough County state rep before the next meeting of the Hillsborough delegation on June 23, to urge them to add this project to the budget.

Long says constituents should especially focus on the executive committee, who are the gatekeepers of the budget process.

“One of their questions was how much of a difference would this make? They said this isn’t a panacea. No, it’s not a panacea, but maybe it can help 65 people get their lives back, and after that, we’ll go for the next 65,” says Long.


Editor’s Note. We checked the Hillsborough County Delegation site, but it appears it has not yet been updated with current names and contact information for newly elected state reps. If you click on the map above it will take you to the NH General Court site where you can find contact information by town. Contact information for your 33 Hillsborough County State Reps from Manchester is posted below:

Hillsborough County
Manchester
Representatives:
District 08
   Ward 1
Jeffrey P. Goley : 1683 River Road , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-1645
Joseph R. Lachance : 105 Brae Burn Drive , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-1705
District 09
   Ward 2
Linda A. DiSilvestro : 145 Fox Hollow Way , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-6406
William J. O’Neil : 309 Ash Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-3203
District 10
   Ward 3
Jean L. Jeudy : 134 Calef Road , Manchester,  NH ,    03103-6324
Patrick T. Long : 112 Hollis Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03101-1234
District 11
   Ward 4
Elizabeth Edwards : 524 Wilson Street, #5 , Manchester,  NH ,    03103-4871
Robert M. Walsh : 114 Weston Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-5263
District 12
   Ward 5
Amanda Bouldin : 412 Central Street FL 2 , Manchester,  NH ,    03103-4105
Ted V. Rokas : 393 Wilson Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03103-4913
District 13
   Ward 6
Larry G. Gagne : 126 Lakeside Drive , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-5801
William J. Infantine : 89 Winward Lane , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-4743
District 14
   Ward 7
Mary C. Freitas : 279 Candia Road , Manchester,  NH ,    03109-4215
Mary Heath : 76 Island Pond Road , Manchester,  NH ,    03109-4806
District 15
   Ward 8
Thomas Katsiantonis : 45 Glen Bloom Drive , Manchester,  NH ,    03109-5062
Mark McLean : 43 Forest Hill Way , Manchester,  NH ,    03109-5145
District 16
   Ward 9
Barbara E. Shaw : 45 Randall Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03103-6434
Victoria L. Sullivan : 1056 S. Beech Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03103-6715
District 17
   Ward 10
Tammy A. Simmons : 142 Parker Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03102-4407
Timothy J. Smith : 494 South Main Street #1 , Manchester,  NH ,    03102-5144
District 18
   Ward 11
Patricia Cornell : 787 Montgomery Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03102-3027
Armand D Forest : 692 Montgomery Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03102-3028
District 19
   Ward 12
Robert A. Backus : 1318 Goffstown Road , Manchester,  NH ,    03102-2326
Dick Marston : 25 English Village Rd #304 , Manchester,  NH ,    03102-2415
District 42
   Ward 1
Kendall A. Snow : 150 Birchwood Road , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-3913
Daniel J. Sullivan : 172 Arah Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-2119
   Ward 2
Kendall A. Snow : 150 Birchwood Road , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-3913
Daniel J. Sullivan : 172 Arah Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-2119
   Ward 3
Kendall A. Snow : 150 Birchwood Road , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-3913
Daniel J. Sullivan : 172 Arah Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-2119
District 43
   Ward 4
Benjamin C. Baroody : 1175 Bridge Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-5703
Christopher J. Herbert : 85 Watts Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-4512
Kathleen F. Souza : 628 Belmont Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-5167
   Ward 5
Benjamin C. Baroody : 1175 Bridge Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-5703
Christopher J. Herbert : 85 Watts Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-4512
Kathleen F. Souza : 628 Belmont Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-5167
   Ward 6
Benjamin C. Baroody : 1175 Bridge Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-5703
Christopher J. Herbert : 85 Watts Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-4512
Kathleen F. Souza : 628 Belmont Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-5167
   Ward 7
Benjamin C. Baroody : 1175 Bridge Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-5703
Christopher J. Herbert : 85 Watts Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-4512
Kathleen F. Souza : 628 Belmont Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03104-5167
District 44
   Ward 8
Andre A. Martel : 81 Maurice Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03103-3825
Mark L. Proulx : 76 Janet Court , Manchester,  NH ,    03103-2209
   Ward 9
Andre A. Martel : 81 Maurice Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03103-3825
Mark L. Proulx : 76 Janet Court , Manchester,  NH ,    03103-2209
District 45
   Ward 10
Jane E. Beaulieu : 609 South Main Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03102-5134
Carlos E Gonzalez : PO Box 154 , Manchester,  NH ,    03105-0154
   Ward 11
Jane E. Beaulieu : 609 South Main Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03102-5134
Carlos E Gonzalez : PO Box 154 , Manchester,  NH ,    03105-0154
   Ward 12
Jane E. Beaulieu : 609 South Main Street , Manchester,  NH ,    03102-5134
Carlos E Gonzalez : PO Box 154 , Manchester,  NH ,    03105-0154

 

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About Carol Robidoux 5215 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.
  • These people must be living under a rock. This is a state-wide problem. The reason most of the addicts end up in Manchester is because they are released from Valley St, and have nowhere else to go.