CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire is getting a $3.6 million federal grant to build on drug- and alcohol-abuse prevention efforts among young people.
Joe Harding, director of the state health department's Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services Administration, said Monday the three-year grant will help direct prevention efforts to "those at greatest risk in areas of our state with the greatest need."
The efforts are focused on reducing underage drinking among people age 12 to 20; and prescription drug misuse and abuse among people age 12 to 25.
Harding said through a previous grant, the state collaborated with regional coalitions, a governor's commission, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and other partners to set up a statewide, science-based, community-level alcohol and other drug prevention system. The health bureau collaborated with the charitable foundation and the new Hampshire Center for Excellence on the current grant.
The grant is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.
Officials say although New Hampshire is often ranked as one of the healthiest states in the nation, it shows signs of high substance abuse problems among young people. A 2008-2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported high rates of alcohol and prescription drug abuse for those 12 and older.
The Health Department said New Hampshire overall is grappling with a "meteoric rise" in drug-related deaths, with over 80 percent attributed to prescription drug abuse. It says between 2001 and 2011, drug-related deaths in the state rose from 60 deaths in 2001, to 200 in 2011.