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In Manchester and Nashua, Fentanyl Death Toll Keeps Rising

Nashua and Manchester continue chasing a grim record as opioid-related overdose deaths continue to rise in the two cities. 

According to data released Thursday by ambulance company American Medical Response, there were 77 suspected opioid overdoses in Nashua and Manchester during September 2022 bringing the combined total for this year to 701.

And they warn there is no end in sight.

“Preliminary data show Nashua has experienced 33 suspected opioid-related deaths through September. That is 3 more deaths than during all of 2021,” said Chris Stawasz, Northeast Regional Director of Government Affairs for AMR. “Nashua remains on pace to have the highest number of suspected deaths from opioids in one year since the opioid epidemic began in 2015. Manchester is also still on pace to have the highest number of suspected opioid-related deaths in a one-year period since 2017.”

This year’s number of opioid-related overdose deaths is already close to last year’s totals. Manchester had more than 500 suspected overdoses in 2021, 30 percent more than the previous year, and Nashua had 250 suspected overdoses in 2021, which was 29 percent more than in 2020.

Stawasz said opioids like Fentanyl are not the only thing first responders are worried about. The growing prevalence of methamphetamines on New Hampshire streets is concerning, he said.

“Methamphetamine, which is not currently tracked and is not included in this report, continues to be seen mixed with opioids. Meth is a particularly dangerous drug for both users and first responders as it can cause extreme excited delirium and alarmingly unpredictable behavior in users,” Stawasz said.

Meth use has been linked to violent incidents in recent years, with several fatal police shootings involving people who were heavy meth users coming into conflict with police.

Both methamphetamine and fentanyl are coming over the Mexican border and making their way into New Hampshire, according to law enforcement. Mexican drug cartels are getting the necessary chemicals to make the deadly drugs from Chinese triads. The partnership extends to billions of dollars being laundered by the triads for the cartels, with the knowledge of China’s government.

The drugs continue to stream over the border, which has seen record numbers of people illegally crossing. The Border Patrol reports it apprehended 2 million people this year, the largest number of illegal crossings in history. That blows past last year’s figure of 1.7 million people coming over the border illegally, which was a record number at the time.

Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan received testimony on the need to secure the border from national law enforcement officials during a hearing earlier this year. Jon DeLena, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the New England Field Division for the DEA, testified regarding the danger posed by the cartels.

“The model of the drug cartels right now is simple. Relentless expansion and addiction. They simply don’t care if Americans die. They only want to reach more Americans in unprecedented ways. This is a moment in time, our moment where we have to do everything we can to reverse this deadly trend,” DeLena said.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to more accurately reflect the testimony offered by Mr. DeLena.

Is Homeland Security Sending Migrants from Texas Border to NH? Hassan Won’t Say

Senator Maggie Hassan has no comment on reports that the Department of Homeland Security — which she oversees as a member of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee — is considering a plan to send some of the migrants pouring across the southern border up to Vermont and New Hampshire.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, “more than 1.472 million aliens have been apprehended entering illegally at the Southwest border in just FY 2021.” That’s equal to the entire population of New Hampshire. U.S. Border Patrol reported “nearly 200,000 encounters with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border in July, the highest monthly total in more than two decades.”

Now, the Border Patrol is reportedly considering sending some of those migrants to the “Swanton Sector,” which includes all of Vermont, part of New York,  and Coos, Grafton and Carroll counties in New Hampshire.

“Federal immigration agencies are preparing contingency plans for a chaotic fall and winter that include looking to states thousands of miles away for assistance,” the Washington Free Beacon reports, based on a memo they’ve obtained. “DHS is husbanding resources for the ‘unconfirmed’ transfer of migrants to [the Swanton Sector] and awaiting a response from Border Patrol about the number of additional processing machines required,” they report.

“A spokeswoman for Customs and Border Protection declined to address the [Swanton Sector] relocation plans, saying the department does not comment on leaked information.”

A spokesperson for Vermont’s Gov. Phil Scott (R) told a reporter last week the administration was “unaware” of any such plans.

Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told the Vermont Daily Chronicle: “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continually evaluates possible contingency plans and adjusts its operations as circumstances dictate, but currently there are no plans to transfer migrants from the Southwest border to the Northern or Coastal borders.”

But nothing is stopping the Border Patrol from locating migrants here — certainly not Sen. Hassan.

And even if DHS doesn’t send would-be illegal immigrants to the area, some are making their way here, anyway. Just last week, Border Patrol agents “apprehended 21 people encountered in multiple events after they illegally entered the U.S. near the towns of Alburgh, Franklin, Richford & West Berkshire,” the Swanton Sector Border Patrol tweeted. “They were citizens of Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico & Canada.”

More significant, however, is the lack of information from Sen. Hassan, who will not answer questions about the border or DHS policy from NHJournal. She hasn’t made any public comment or issued a statement on the report, either.

Meanwhile, former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott revealed last week the Biden administration is paying contractors not to build a wall on the southern U.S. border. “For a while, it was almost $5 million a day between DOD and DHS.” Hassan voted against funding a border wall in 2017.

In a recent NHJournal poll,  New Hampshire Republicans picked the border security issue as their top concern. At the same time, Biden is getting poor marks across the political spectrum for his handling of the border crisis. Just 25 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s immigration policy, while 67 percent disapprove, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

As for the situation at the Mexican border, just 23 percent approve, while 67 percent disapprove. Only half of Biden’s fellow Democrats approve of his handling of the border situation.