State Grants to Help Law Enforcement Address Heroin Crisis

As police departments throughout New Hampshire grapple with the heroin and opioid crisis, the State is stepping up its support with a commitment to overtime funding for State Police in Manchester and at the State Police Forensic Laboratory.

According to Londonderry Det. Chris Olson, “Right now we’re looking at a six- to eight-month backlog. If we don’t have enough evidence to arrest someone, they could disappear in that time it takes to wait for the results.”

Gov. Maggie Hassan announced last week that the two grants – a $90,000 grant to allow State Police to provide more than 1,200 additional hours of manpower to assist local department’s initiatives, and a $60,000 grant to reduce growing case backlog at the State lab by providing the funding needed to analyze an additional 60 to 80 cases per month – will build on the State Police’s ongoing efforts to assist local communities in combating the opioid crisis.

“The heroin and substance abuse crisis is the most pressing public health and safety challenge facing our state, and we must all work together, every single day, on a comprehensive approach to combat this crisis,” Hassan said. “While we focus on strengthening prevention, treatment and recovery, we must also do everything that we can to support law enforcement and other first responders on the front lines, and these grants will help us do just that.”

The state Department of Justice awarded the grants to the Department of Safety with federal funds received from the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program.

“These grants are a small but significant step as we work to strengthen our comprehensive approach to combating the heroin and opioid crisis,” Hassan said. “While these grants to strengthen our law enforcement response are important, we all agree that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. We must continue to build on a comprehensive approach and strengthen our prevention, treatment and recovery efforts.”

In addition to the two grants, New Hampshire lawmakers have included in the compromise $11.3 million State budget two additional detectives for the State drug enforcement unit, and an additional criminalist to process cases in the State lab.

The legislature has also committed as part of the compromise budget to introduce legislation reauthorizing the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, which provides coverage for substance abuse services to thousands of residents.