Opioids are not political

This week, Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, unveiled a plan for how he believes the state should spend nearly $46 million worth of federal grants to combat New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic.

“This is a one-time opportunity to really get it right, and really set the state up with an infrastructure, to be results-driven, to be data-focused and in many ways enhance the providers that are doing some great work out there, and really ensure that all 1.3 million people in this state have true access to care,” he said Wednesday.

Before Sununu could even finish speaking in Concord, members of New Hampshire’s federal delegation – all Democrats – issued press releases to take credit for securing the funding.

“I’ve been proud of the leadership of the Bipartisan Heroin and Opioid Task Force as well as the entire New Hampshire congressional delegation in securing significant resources to tackle the opioid epidemic,” said U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H.

“I am pleased that the state’s application for this funding includes important priorities that I have consistently supported, including expanding access to medication-assisted treatment, improving access to recovery housing, and increasing prevention services,” U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., added.

We are not disputing the fact that Democrats Hassan and Kuster, as well as U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, deserve credit for procuring access to funds for battling opioid addiction. Neither do we doubt they sincerely want to end the epidemic.

Our point is simple: the battle against opioid addiction is not, nor should it be, a political football.

New Hampshire saw 395 opioid-related deaths in 2017. And according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, of the 50 states, only West Virginia has a higher rate of opioid-related overdose deaths than does New Hampshire.

Political debates regarding issues such as taxes, health care, education, military spending, gun control, fossil fuels and freedom of religion are fair game.

The battle against fentanyl, heroin, carfentanil and other potentially deadly opioids should rise above politics.