GOP Derides New Hampshire Governor Calling Legislature Into Special Session to Deal with Heroin

The influential New Hampshire Union Leader editorialized Nov. 4 that Hassan was more interested in “political theater” than in addressing the state’s heroin epidemic.

“After sitting on her hands since July, she suddenly thinks the situation so urgent that the Legislature has to spend Thanksgiving holding committee hearings. The politics behind Hassan’s sudden urgency are transparent. She wants to leverage the governor’s office to bolster her campaign for U.S. Senate,” the paper wrote.

“If the situation is truly this urgent, Hassan would suspend her Senate campaign, and her fundraising, so she can concentrate full time on helping lawmakers come up with a solution. Until she does, there is no reason to take her seriously.”

But Hassan contended, while the slings and arrows of outraged Republicans and other conservatives were flying all around her, that she had taken decisive action against the New Hampshire heroin epidemic.

Hassan pointed out she had not only called for a special session of the legislature but convinced the state’s Board of Medicine to rewrite its rules regarding the way physicians prescribe painkillers.

The board approved a set of emergency rules on Nov. 4 for the prescription of medicine to alleviate pain and laid out a plan to work with the medical community to come up with new permanent rules.

The emergency measures adopted by the Board of Medicine include ensuring that patients have informed consent about the risks of opioids, that physicians comply with federal guidelines for best practices on the prescribing of opioids, and that for patients with chronic pain physicians conduct a thorough risk assessment using an evidenced-based screening tool, create a treatment plan, conduct periodic review and follow-up, and conduct appropriate toxicology screenings.

“The Board of Medicine’s action, along with the Executive Council’s approval of my call today for a special legislative session on substance abuse, is important progress in our continued efforts to strengthen the state’s response to the heroin and opioid epidemic,” said Hassan.

“I look forward to continuing to work with members from both parties, physicians, other prescribers, patients and all stakeholders on a comprehensive legislative package to combat the substance abuse crisis,” she added, “and help save lives, including additional efforts to develop stronger, more explicit and more up-to-date rules on the prescribing of opioids.”