SB 279  - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2022 SESSION

22-2869

05/11

 

SENATE BILL 279

 

AN ACT establishing a study committee on harm reduction and overdose prevention programs.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Watters, Dist 4; Sen. Sherman, Dist 24; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Rosenwald, Dist 13; Sen. Birdsell, Dist 19; Sen. Whitley, Dist 15; Sen. Perkins Kwoka, Dist 21; Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Rep. Marsh, Carr. 8; Rep. M. Pearson, Rock. 34; Rep. Knirk, Carr. 3; Rep. Woods, Merr. 23

 

COMMITTEE: Health and Human Services

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill establishes a committee to study harm reduction and overdose prevention programs.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

22-2869

05/11

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Two

 

AN ACT establishing a study committee on harm reduction and overdose prevention programs.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Findings.  The legislature finds and declares all of the following:

I.  Overdose deaths in New Hampshire are an urgent public health crisis.  For many years, overdose has been the leading cause of accidental death in the United States and in New Hampshire.

II.  Harm reduction and overdose prevention programs (OPPs) are an evidence-based harm reduction strategy that allow individuals to consume drugs in a hygienic environment under the supervision of trained staff, who are able to intervene if the patient overdoses.  OPPs also provide sterile consumption equipment and offer general medical advice and referrals to drug treatment and other community social services.

III.  There are approximately 165 overdose prevention programs operating in 10 countries around the world, and numerous peer-reviewed studies have confirmed that those programs are effective in reducing overdose deaths and HIV transmission, and in increasing access to counseling, treatment, and other risk reduction services.  Research has also demonstrated that those programs decrease use of emergency medical services, reduce public drug use, reduce syringe debris, and do not increase crime or drug use.

IV.  As demands for reform of the criminal legal system reverberate around the country, OPPs offer an alternative framework for addressing both drug use as well as the enforcement of drug laws.  OPPs bring people inside to a safe and therapeutic space, instead of leaving them vulnerable to police intervention, arrest, and incarceration.

V.  It is the intent of the legislature to promote the health and safety of communities by evaluating the health impacts of OPPs.  It is the intent of the legislature to prevent fatal and nonfatal drug overdoses, reduce drug use by providing a pathway to drug treatment, as well as medical and social services for high-risk drug users, many of whom are homeless or uninsured or very low income, prevent the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C, reduce nuisance and public safety problems related to public use of controlled substances, reduce emergency room use and hospital utilization related to drug use, reserving precious space, including intensive care beds, for treatment of COVID-19, and other life-threatening conditions.

VI.  Further, it is the intent of the legislature that OPPs should be evaluated in New Hampshire municipalities that authorize them, as OPPs show great promise to save lives, enhance public safety, improve access to drug treatment, medical care, and related services, reduce emergency department and hospital utilization related to drug overdose, and reduce the human, social, and financial costs of epidemics of drug misuse, homelessness, and COVID-19.

2  Committee Established.  There is established a committee to study harm reduction and overdose prevention programs.

3  Membership and Compensation.

I.  The members of the committee shall be as follows:

(a)  Three members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.

(b)  One member of the senate, appointed by the president of the senate.

II.  Members of the committee shall receive mileage at the legislative rate when attending to the duties of the committee.

4  Duties.  The committee shall study the establishment of harm reduction and overdose prevention programs on the state and local levels in New Hampshire, working with the department of health and human services, other state and local agencies, and stakeholders, to develop specific recommendations for legislation to authorize such programs.

5  Chairperson; Quorum.  The members of the study committee shall elect a chairperson from among the members.  The first meeting of the committee shall be called by the first-named house member.  The first meeting of the committee shall be held within 45 days of the effective date of this section.  Three members of the committee shall constitute a quorum.

6  Report.  The committee shall report its findings and any recommendations for proposed legislation to the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, the house clerk, the senate clerk, the governor, and the state library on or before November 1, 2022.

7  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.