GOP Candidate In New Hampshire Claimed Narcan Keeps People Addicted

Don Bolduc, the Donald Trump-aligned retired Military brigadier common who’s the Republican nominee for Senate in New Hampshire, claimed earlier this yr that administering the lifesaving opioid therapy naloxone to overdose victims “retains them addicted” and results in individuals getting “thrown into the welfare system,” based on audio newly obtained by HuffPost.

Naloxone, generally referred to by the model title Narcan, is used to cease the signs of an opioid overdose, both via a nasal spray or muscle injection. The drug counters the slowed-down respiration that always results in demise. Accessible over-the-counter, it’s ceaselessly carried by cops and paramedics and has been credited with decreasing overdose deaths because the opioid disaster rages on all through the nation.

Bolduc’s feedback enraged restoration advocates within the state, who mentioned the candidate helps uphold the stigma round habit.

“It’s barbaric,” mentioned John Burns, a recovering addict who runs the nonprofit SOS Restoration and as soon as served on a council advising New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) on habit points. “It simply exhibits me he has little or no understanding of habit, therapy and restoration.”

New Hampshire, the place Bolduc is difficult Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, was as soon as thought-about floor zero for the opioid disaster. It had the nation’s second-highest overdose demise charge in 2015.

However even because the coronavirus pandemic and the widespread availability of fentanyl ― an artificial opioid way more highly effective than Oxycontin or heroin ― drove nationwide overdose deaths to a document 107,000 from December 2020 to December 2021, the Granite State has managed to maintain opioid deaths down. It had the nation’s Twenty second-highest overdose demise charge in 2020, based on the Facilities for Illness Management.

A key cause is the widespread availability of Narcan. Public officers within the state, together with Sununu, have inspired individuals to maintain the therapy useful and be ready to intervene.

“The extent to which Narcan has been obtainable in New Hampshire has completely influenced our overdose demise charge,” mentioned Tym Rourke, the senior director at Third Horizon Methods, a well being care consulting agency, and a former chair of a state panel on substance abuse. “New Hampshire was one of many solely states within the U.S. with out a rise in annual overdose deaths in 2020, and we’ve seen some slight declines. Availability of naloxone is completely part of that.”

In audio obtained by HuffPost, nonetheless, Bolduc twice expressed skepticism of Narcan and of public well being interventions extra broadly. Throughout a gathering with Republicans within the city of Hollis in July, Bolduc downplayed a 5.1% lower in overdose deaths ― an obvious reference to a nationwide decline from 2017 to 2018 that has since been reversed. (His feedback begin at about 1:09:57 in this recording.)

“It’s not success, as a result of what it’s straight associated to is the usage of Narcan by our first responders who save individuals, and others locally which have the Narcan which might be in a position to convey them again to life,” he mentioned, later including: “Giving somebody medication who’s already on medication … retains them addicted on a authorized drug after which they will’t work, in order that they get thrown into the welfare system and it makes that costlier. And so it’s a cycle and a era of welfare that we hold coping with, and we now have to cease that.”

And through a marketing campaign cease in Windham in September, shortly earlier than he defeated the establishment-aligned Chuck Morse within the GOP major, Bolduc questioned the significance of cash going to hurt discount packages, and mentioned that “not all people desires to recuperate” from habit. (His feedback happen at concerning the 23:37 mark in this video.)

“I give [New Hampshire Democratic Sen.] Jeanne Shaheen credit score for getting this state $69 million for opioid disaster, nevertheless it’s going to hurt discount. Methadone and Suboxone. Needle change, syringe change. And we’re not curing the issue. We’d like prevention,” Bolduc mentioned.

“You’re not gonna have the ability to clear up the issue by giving individuals medication ― one other drug to maintain them off a drug,” he added. “It doesn’t work. We’d like prevention. All of us ― we want therapy and we want companies that, you recognize, assist individuals in restoration. However then we now have to appreciate that not all people desires to recuperate and never all people will recuperate. And I’m sorry, and which may sound chilly, however that’s a truth. And it’s unlucky.”

Burns, who advocates for a public health-centered strategy to the opioid epidemic reasonably than one constructed round regulation enforcement, in contrast Bolduc’s skepticism of Narcan to selecting to not give an chubby particular person CPR in the event that they’re having a coronary heart assault.

“It’s like saying that as a result of somebody didn’t observe their physician’s recommendation on weight-reduction plan and train, we shouldn’t intervene to save lots of their lives,” he mentioned.

In a press release, Bolduc spokesperson Kate Constantini blamed Hassan’s immigration stances for the state’s drug drawback, repeating an unsourced rumor that fentanyl may very well be combined into youngsters’s Halloween sweet.

“It’s no secret the drug disaster is plaguing New Hampshire communities and households, exacerbated by the open-border insurance policies supported by Senator Hassan,” Constantini mentioned. “Medication are pouring in and killing Granite Staters. It’s a tragic day when Normal Bolduc wants to inform his personal grandchildren they will’t eat Halloween sweet as a result of Democrats like Senator Hassan proceed to remain smooth on crime and medicines. We’ll gladly examine our imaginative and prescient for a safe border and powerful communities over Senator Hassan’s pathetic document any day.”

Whereas the Drug Enforcement Company has warned concerning the unfold of multicolored “rainbow fentanyl” and speculated that the medication may very well be used to focus on younger individuals, there’s no proof the medication will probably be combined into Halloween treats. Past being a questionable enterprise tactic for the cartels that visitors the medication, the concept illicit substances or razor blades are being snuck into sweet is a long-standing fable with no proof.

The specter of fentanyl ― which each the DEA and Customs and Border Safety ceaselessly seize in large shipments at and across the Mexican border ― has grow to be a key a part of GOP messaging on immigration this cycle. Whereas it has not been straight talked about in any adverts concentrating on Hassan, Republicans have invoked fentanyl in adverts geared toward Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) of their respective Senate races.

The hyperlink between fentanyl trafficking and unlawful immigration will not be almost as cut-and-dried because the GOP makes it appear, nonetheless. More than 99% of the unlawful medication seized by CBP come via authorized avenues of entry, like truck crossings and ports, with virtually not one of the product carried by migrants crossing the border on foot.

An AARP survey launched earlier this week and performed by a bipartisan duo of pollsters discovered that immigration was the third-most cited high subject amongst probably voters in New Hampshire, trailing solely abortion rights and inflation. Amongst Republicans, it was second solely to inflation.

Hassan appeared to acknowledge her potential vulnerability on immigration by making a visit this summer season to the U.S.-Mexico border, the place she stood in entrance of a phase of the border wall and referred to as for extra funding for the border patrol ― a transfer that led Republicans to mock her as “MAGA Maggie” and irritated Latino Democratic legislators in her residence state.

The AARP survey matched what different polls have proven, giving Hassan an actual however surmountable lead over Bolduc, 52% to 45%. Nationwide Democratic and Republican teams are nonetheless pouring tens of millions of {dollars} into the state. A Hassan victory would make it troublesome for the GOP to win something greater than a slender majority within the Senate, which is now cut up 50-50.

Neither candidate was well-liked within the survey, nonetheless. Approval of Hassan was cut up: Forty-nine % of respondents had a good opinion of her and 50% had an unfavorable opinion. Bolduc’s picture was adverse, with 42% holding a constructive opinion and 51% holding a adverse opinion.

Need assistance with substance use dysfunction or psychological well being points? Within the U.S., name 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.

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