CONCORD – Speaking at a press conference for New Futures today, Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene) discussed SB 196, legislation to fully fund the state’s Alcohol Fund.
“Governor Sununu has called substance abuse the biggest issue that we must tackle as a state. I completely agree, and that’s why I’ve introduced legislation to fully fund the state’s Alcohol Fund,” said Senator Kahn, prime sponsor of SB 196.
The Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund, authorized in 2000 and fully active by 2003, offers an innovative solution to the state’s need to fund substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. The original text of the law mandates that 5% of the gross profits from the sale of alcohol be dedicated to combating drug and alcohol problems in New Hampshire. Among the many critical services this fund was intended to support, a fully financed Alcohol Fund provides the resources for medication assisted treatment and withdrawal services, recovery support, and public awareness and education programs.
Despite the original intent of the law, the Alcohol Fund only received its full appropriation once, in 2003. Since then, the fund’s formula has been amended to allocate just 1.7% of Liquor Commission revenue to addiction services despite the escalating epidemic of heroin and opioid misuse in the state.
“SB 196 reinstates the original 5% formula so that the fund may finally operate as was originally intended. It is unfortunate that this forward-thinking legislation has never been given the chance to take full effect. I urge Governor Sununu and my colleagues in the Senate to seriously consider the merits of SB 196 to provide immediate and sustained support for our substance misuse and prevention programs. Where we invest our money is a direct reflection of our priorities, and our priorities ought to be with the people in New Hampshire who need care.”
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