Sustain and Grow Behavioral Health Services

New Hampshire has some of the highest rates of substance misuse among youth and young adults in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated emotional challenges stemming from interpersonal and environmental stressors and created a detrimental disruption in prevention, treatment, and recovery services on which Granite Staters rely. By the numbers:

  • 14% increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic compared to 2019.
  • 62% of Americans feel more anxious compared to 2019.
  • 33.8% of NH HS students report they have used e-cigarettes in the 30 days prior to taking the 2019 Youth Behavioral Risk Survey.
  • Tobacco use kills more than1,900 Granite Staters every year.
  • Tobacco-related healthcare expenses cost the State $729 annually.1
  • 90% percent of current smokers begin when they are 18 or younger - tobacco use is a problem that starts young.
  • 60,000 Granite Staters access health insurance coverage through NH Medicaid Expansion.
  • 10,500 Granite Staters used Medicaid Expansion to access SUD treatment from 7/19-7/20.

What can be done to strengthen NH:

  1. Continue to fully finance the Alcohol Fund and Medicaid Expansion to ensure critical substance use disorder services.
  2. Ensure sustainability and solvency for substance use treatment and recovery programs.
  3. Invest in evidence-informed tobacco prevention and cessation programs that are a proven method of preventing kids from starting to smoke and helping adult smokers quit. Read Advocate stories here.

Why this matters:

Substance use disorder is a preventable and treatable condition. When appropriately resourced and fully implemented, evidence-informed strategies will help address emergent and acute mental and behavioral health needs, as well as to take preventative action to avert future suffering.

Behavioral health challenges are a major cost to the state economy. Substance misuse costs NH $2.36 billion a year in health and criminal justice costs, lost labor force participation, and lost worker productivity – a cost equal to $1,780 for every resident.

Prevention works and is effective. Reductions in youth rates of alcohol and drug dependency in recent years have corresponded with an increase in evidence-based prevention programs, showing that funding for prevention is helping New Hampshire kids.

With needed investments, NH will continue to overcome the addiction and mental health crises. The state has established a network of 17 recovery centers and has supported critical substance use prevention programs across the state. These efforts have contributed to a meaningful decline in the number of overdose deaths over the last three years.

Want to become a behavioral health advocate?

Share your health and wellness interests with us here: https://new-futures.org/become-an-advocate. Let our team know what issues matter to you and we will help you use your voice effectively throughout the legislative session and beyond. Your voice matters and we want to help you use your voice effectively to make health and wellness improvements in the Granite State!

1. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/problem/toll-us/new_hampshire