Rotary Club of Lebanon-Riverside
August 2016
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Service Above Self

We meet Tuesdays at 7:15 AM
Dwinell Room Building E. at Harvest Hill
Alice Peck Day Drive
Lebanon [PO Box 5394, West Lebanon, NH 03784], NH  03766
United States
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Program August 16, 2016:
Jame Vera, Governor's Advisor on Addiction and Behavioral Health
Our speaker this morning was New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan’s Advisor on Addiction and Behavioral Health, Mr. James Vara. 
Mr. Vara is originally from New Jersey.  He relocated to New London, New Hampshire with his wife and children.  He has worked for 12 years as a Grafton Country prosecutor, and as Senior Assistant Attorney General for 7 years.
The focus of his talk was on the changing addiction/substance abuse problem in New Hampshire and across the United States.  We have moved from oxycodone being the primary drug of choice to heroin with the addition of fentanyl.  He anticipates that methamphetamine will soon be a larger part of our landscape too.  Other drugs are apt to infiltrate our region too.
He shared that 50% of people know an opioid user.  He stressed that we must remind ourselves that addition is a disease and deserves the best we can offer in treatment. 
Since 1/1/16 $23 million has been put toward substance abuse, and more funds are needed.  One of his concerns is that a new problem will confront society, for example Zeka, and we will lose our opportunity to commit the funds needed to address opioid abuse.
He stressed the following as recommendations:
  1. Community action to ensure creation of infrastructure to help with prevention, treatment and recovery.
  2. Work force initiatives.
  3. Needle exchange.
  4. Website for substance abuse that is easy to navigate and helps individuals find the resource they need to begin navigating the issues related to addiction and substance abuse.
Here is press release that was distributed when he was introduced to NH as the Governor’s advisor:
CONCORD – As part of her efforts to combat the heroin and opioid crisis and help save lives, Governor Maggie Hassan announced that she has named James Vara of New London as the Governor's Advisor on Addiction and Behavioral Health.
"Substance misuse, particularly the heroin and opioid crisis, is devastating families, communities and businesses across the state, and we all must work together every single day on a comprehensive approach to combat this crisis and help save lives," Governor Hassan said. "The Governor's Advisor on Addiction and Behavioral Health is an important part of those efforts, and I am proud to announce that I have named James Vara to fill the position."
"As the head of the Drug Prosecution Unit at the Department of Justice, James has led the State's prosecution efforts in drug cases, represented the Attorney General on the Drug Task Force, co-chaired the Opioid Task Force and helped develop the bipartisan legislation that I signed earlier this year to crack down on fentanyl," Governor Hassan said. "He is well respected across the state by substance misuse and behavioral health advocates and the law enforcement community, and I thank him for his commitment to taking on this incredibly important responsibility.

Rotarians at Work on the 4th of July!

Come join us on July 4, 2016 for our Great American Pie Buffet!

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