To The Daily Sun,
Laconia set a shining example last week as its leaders — Police Chief Chris Adams, Officer Eric Adams, Horizons Counseling's Jacqui Abikoff, Stand Up Laconia's many representatives, and state Sen. Andrew Hosmer — described the city's innovative leadership in combating addiction to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin. The city is a model that others follow in reforming policing, offering peer mentoring and providing a supportive recovery community.
Those assembled at the Boys and Girls Club also heard two stories of a system that has failed, resulting in heartbreaking loss for two families. All of us in the room were moved by these parents' bravery and huge losses.
Hillary Clinton described to those in attendance her plan to combat drug and alcohol addiction and meet mental health needs, a plan developed in response to the needs she heard outlined in her first visits to New Hampshire on the campaign trail. All the speakers outlined the same needs: recovery centers, mental health beds, school partnerships.
The requirement that all these proposals have in common is one thing: adequate funding. We must keep in mind that our legislature's Republican leadership routinely rejects federal funding — even when it is free as in the case of Medicaid expansion — or presents budgets that cut the very services every single speaker cited as critical in the fight against addiction. When school budgets are cut, drug counselors get cut. When the state budget stalemate was on hold, 10 mental health beds at New Hampshire Hospital were on hold.
Hillary Clinton's laudable plan to fight addiction in New Hampshire and beyond will not get far here unless we elect legislators all the way down the ticket who want to fight this problem where it starts: in our schools, on our streets and through our health care delivery system. In a presidential election year, please remember that your candidate cannot get her agenda implemented without support from your representatives in Congress, at the statehouse and at the county level. It is up to New Hampshire voters to make sure her plan has a chance to succeed.
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