Hundreds protest NH House budget slash of $6 million in substance abuse grants
CONCORD - Hundreds of people demonstrated in front of the N.H. Statehouse to protest the proposed cut to education, health services and substance abuse treatment as part of the House's $11.2 billion budget.
Of the $300 million cut from Gov. Maggie Hassan's $11.5 billion proposal, the House version slashes $6 million in substance abuse grants.
More than 400 people pretended to be dead, lying on the ground while lawmakers entered the Statehouse. They said they represented the 300 opioid deaths in 2014.
Four people who died last year were friends with Brian Patriquin, a student at NHTI who's pursuing a career in career addiction. He said he's concerned less funding will lead to less jobs, and more deaths for those trying to seek treatment.
"The kid was 19 years old and died of an overdose because he couldn't get the help already and you're going to take more away from that?" Patriquin said.
Jenifer Gonsalves lost her boyfriend to a heroin overdose last weekend. She attended Wednesday to represent him.
"Nobody wants to die from this disease and another person doesn't need to die, let him be the last," Gonsalves said.
The budget now heads to the Senate.