Fully Funding the Alcohol Fund
1 in 5 deaths among U.S. adults ages 20-49 is from excessive alcohol use. In this age group, New Hampshire has the 12th highest rate of alcohol-attributable deaths (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
The Alcohol Fund provides an innovative, fiscally responsible, common-sense approach to address a real need in New Hampshire. However, since its inception, it has been historically underfunded or diverted elsewhere.
Full funding for the Alcohol Fund was included in the FY 2024-25 budget. The funding goes into effect on July 1, 2023.
History of the Fund
Financed through the revenues generated through liquor sales in New Hampshire, the Alcohol Abuse, Prevention & Treatment Fund (“Alcohol Fund”) was established in law in 2000. The intent behind the creation of the Alcohol Fund was to direct 5% of gross profits of alcohol sales to substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery. It is administered through the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs.
How Much is Five Percent?
Year over year, the NH Liquor Commission announces record-breaking sales and revenue. In 2021, NHLC recorded total gross sales of $801 million. Five percent of gross profits that year were estimated at $10.3 million. In 2018, the Alcohol Fund was fully funded at 5% ($10 million) for the first time since it had been created, however, these funds were immediately diverted to the New Hampshire Granite Advantage Health Care Trust (Medicaid expansion) to fund the required 10% state share.
Future Funding Uncertain
With the Alcohol Fund fully funded but fully diverted, a huge hole was left in the state to fund behavioral health prevention, treatment, and recovery programs contracted through the Governor's Commission. Fortunately, New Hampshire's 26 hospitals provided voluntary funding of $10 million per year until December 2023. After 2023, there is no promise of continued funding.
The critical programs funded in-whole or in-part by the Governor's Commission in 2022 include:
- Direct Substance Misuse Prevention Programs
- Evidence-Based Prevention Curricula in K-12 Schools
- Life of an Athlete
- Juvenile Court Diversion
- Purple Star Program - substance misuse prevention activities and support for military families
- School Climate Transformation Grant Programming and Multi-Tiered System of Support Behavioral Health (MTSS-B)
- Home Visiting
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) within Domestic Violence Crisis Centers
- Youth Access to Tobacco and Alcohol Surveillance
- Student Assistance Programs
- Military Childcare Access Initiative
Treatment, Crisis and Access
- Family Support Services
- Substance Use Disorder Treatment Services
- Access and Delivery Hub of Opioid Use Disorder Services
- Medication Assisted Services
- Ask the Question - technical assistance program that provides referral and treatment for veterans and their families
- Recovery Support Centers
- Recovery Housing Certification and Rental Assistance
- Community Housing Services for Criminal Justice Involved Individuals
- Peer Recovery Outreach to Homeless Shelters and Encampments
- Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative