OSSIPEE — Outgoing Carroll County Jail Superintendent Jason Henry, who is leaving at the end of the month, on Wednesday again pitched to county commissioners the idea of medication-assisted treatment.
A majority of commissioners continues to block some inmates from obtaining MAT (involving drugs such as suboxone and methadone) to wean inmates off opioids, fentanyl and heroin.
Henry, who is leaving to oversee the jail in Rockinghham County, will be replaced by Patrick Bachelder, who is being promoted from the assistant superintendent role.
Currently, addicted inmates brought in to the jail by police in Carroll County are prevented from being introduced to MAT.
However, inmates who already have a prescription from a doctor are allowed to get MAT. Inmates from other counties that Carroll County contracts with also can continue getting MAT.
On Wednesday, Henry pointed to a recent change in the law that says jail superintendents must provide MAT to inmates who need it starting next July.
“The new superintendent should not have to come back in front of the board and try to deal with this,” said Henry. “We are the last county left where our own inmates are not able to induct or start MAT if they haven’t started on the street.”
Henry warned that if the commissioners don’t sign off, the county could be sued by the ACLU.
At the end of July, Gov. Chris Sununu signed HB 1639, a health-care bill that will allow Granite State inmates to receive MAT. State Rep. Bill Marsh (R-Brookfield), a medical doctor, co-sponsored the bill that was signed into law.
“This policy matches the statute word for word,” Henry assured commissioners. He said money for MAT is already in the county budget.
Commissioner David Babson (R-Ossipee) made a motion to provide MAT, but it died for lack of support from the other two commissioners.
“Can I get a second?” asked Babson.
Chairwoman Amanda Bevard (R-Wolfeboro) replied, “Not from me you don’t.”
Bevard, who announced she would not run for re-election this year, explained her rationale, saying: “I personally will not sign anything that’s going to subject any of our inmates to an addictive opioid substance.”
Commissioner Terry McCarthy (R-Conway) said she needed more time to look Henry’s proposed policy. She said she might sign off next week “I want to read it first,” said McCarthy.
In other county news, as Ossipee and Tamworth complain about the county’s inability to get its audits done, County Treasurer Joe Costello read a letter explaining grievances he has.
“I am not able to provide any information with regards to any fiscal matters of the county,” said Costello. “It’s difficult signing checks each week without knowing exactly the financial condition of the county.”
Bevard told the Sun the auditor was coming in to finish up next month.
Costello also complained that he’s not being given respect from the finance office in summing up his complaints after reading the letter.
“There you have it, folks,” said Costello. “There will be no more reports out of this office (treasurer’s office) because we don’t seem to get the correct information and when we sometimes ask, we are basically treated like a child,” said Costello.
“Is that all you have to share today?” asked Bevard.