When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, New Hampshire was already in the midst of an epidemic. Opioids plagued our communities, and now that opioid crisis has evolved into a poly-substance crisis, with substances like fentanyl and methamphetamine making their way into all corners of our State. Cartels are now mass-manufacturing counterfeit pills, and are falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills to deceive consumers. There are pills that look identical to Oxycodone and Xanax that contain fentanyl, and there are ones that look like Adderall that contain methamphetamine.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), through lab testing, has confirmed that of the pills they have seized, two out of every five counterfeit pills contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. These pills are here, and it threatens every citizen, and especially our youth.
It is for this reason, that prevention is debatably more important than ever as these substances are being introduced to young people through these insidious tactics. Fentanyl is in pills disguised as legitimate, and in other substances like cocaine and marijuana, and all it takes is just two milligrams of these synthetic opioids to take a life.
The youth of New Hampshire have grown up in this ongoing health crisis, and the youth are the key to getting on the other side of this. Prevention is the only way to get out of this substance epidemic, and the youth know what will get through to people their own age, and it is for this reason I established the Governor’s Youth Advisory Council on Substance Misuse & Prevention (GYAC).
In 2017, I attended an opioid summit hosted by the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and the DEA, and got to hear from youth affected by this crisis. I realized that this was a voice in the matter I was missing input from, so we worked to bring the youth voice to the table. I now have GYAC, a group of high school students, that informs me about what they are experiencing and seeks ways to reach their peers to prevent substance use.
There is now a podcast episode where you can hear all about GYAC, and hear from youth who are working toward making citizens aware of the dangers of substance use.
Written by Governor Chris Sununu
Visit The Partnership @drugfreeNH for more information on methamphetamines and other substances .
Christopher T. Sununu is the 82nd Governor of the State of New Hampshire and is currently serving his third term. He served as a member of New Hampshire’s Executive Council from 2011 to 2017, and then took office as Governor in 2017.
Chris grew up in Salem, NH. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) with a BS in Civil/Environmental Engineering. As an environmental engineer, Chris worked for ten years cleaning up hazardous waste sites across the country.
In 1988, Chris completed a five-month through-hike of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia.
Governor Sununu lives in Newfields with his wife, Valerie, and their three children.
The Power of Prevention podcast series provides important information about the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other substances misuse. Produced by The Partnership @drugfreeNH, each episode features some of the great work taking place in the Granite State in the prevention arena.