May 27, 2020

New N.H. drug czar talks economic cost of addiction

The new director for substance misuse and behavioral health in New Hampshire is urging people to look beyond the headlines to understand the real economic cost of drug addiction in the state.

“Yes, the number of heroin deaths is doubling (from the previous year). But that's just the tip of the iceberg” of the state's drug epidemic,” John G. “Jack” Wozmak told the Union Leader.

Wozmak said that the large number of functioning drug addicts in the state lower productivity and hard the work force.

“You don't hear about the day-to-day drug exposure that companies have because it's all below the surface, like an iceberg,” he said. “I want to increase jobs and this is getting in the way,” he said. “It's just interfering with productivity. It's interfering with the economy.”

New Hampshire will be more than tripling the money spent on drug addiction prevention in the next few years, from $2.9 million in 2014 to $9.6 million in 2016.

Wozmak hopes that this increase, along with multiple state agencies working together, will help to address the Granite State’s drug issues.

“There is no easy answer, but I believe there are many opportunities to make the change now on a variety of levels and a myriad of fronts,” he said. “I think we're going to have a lot of success.”



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