Substance Abuse Treatment

Casey McDermott, NHPR

In their new headquarters inside what used to be Manchester’s police station, the staff at Serenity Place pack three or four workspaces into a single office, with more desks lining some of the hallways. Old police interrogation rooms have been converted to counseling spaces.

Chris Jensen

Over the past two years, the nonprofit organization HOPE for New Hampshire Recovery has expanded from a single modest space in Manchester to seven drug recovery centers statewide, making it the largest such organization in New Hampshire.

But Hope for New Hampshire’s growth hasn’t gone smoothly. 

NH's Opioid Crisis at a Crossroad

Apr 5, 2017

Few states have been as hard hit by the opioid epidemic as New Hampshire, where more than 1,600 Granite Staters have died of drug overdose since 2012. After several years battling the epidemic, some on the front lines of addiction are pointing to hopeful signs, even while urging vigilance and more investment in treatment and prevention. We take a look at what's working, what's not, and why some are raising alarms about an old scourge: alcohol. 


Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu told the state’s Commission on Alcohol and Drugs Friday that workforce development and cutting regulation are key in addressing New Hampshire’s opioid crisis.

This is the first time Sununu has attended one of these meetings since taking office.

istock photo

The New Hampshire Insurance Department released the findings of a study Thursday that takes a look at how insurance companies are handling drug and alcohol abuse treatment claims.

The study, which examines the insurers Cigna, Anthem, and Harvard Pilgrim, was intended, in part, to determine if they were complying with federal parity law. In other words, do the companies provide comparable coverage for mental health, substance use disorders, and medical and surgical care?

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Gov. Chris Sununu helped to announce a new partnership on Wednesday aimed at reducing the stigma of addiction.   

Speak Up New Hampshire is the latest campaign from the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Hampshire. Joined by the Bureau for Drug and Alcohol Services, the Governor’s Commission, and various addiction treatment and prevention organizations, the Partnership is now concentrating on reducing the stigma of addiction in the Granite State.

Ajay Suresh / flickr/cc

Evidence is growing that certain medicines can ease cravings for drugs and alcohol and improve people's lives. And the medical community, backed by substantial federal funding, is promoting these drugs, calling them life-savers in many cases. But there are skeptics: Some who feel this approach merely replaces one addiction for another and others who fear this is just another profit-making venture of so-called "big pharma."


Michael Brindley

A new treatment program for adolescents battling drug and alcohol addiction opens in Concord Wednesday.

The program is called Choices, and will offer outpatient substance abuse treatment to teens 14 and older. The program is part of the Riverbend Community Mental Health network.

Audrey Clairmont, Choices' lead clinician, spoke to NHPR's Morning Edition about the program and the unique approach required when working with teens dealing with substance abuse issues.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A substance abuse treatment facility in Franklin, Farnum North, has added 42 more inpatient beds. And with help from donations, the center can now start treating patients who lack insurance. 

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is looking for 12 to 15 people to advise the commissioner on access to substance abuse treatment and other behavioral health services through private insurance.

Larry Farr / Morguefile

Representatives from Merrimack County voted last week on a proposal that would convert the old jail in Boscawen into a community corrections center for inmates. The new facility will provide inpatient treatment and housing for work release, helping to transition inmates back into the community. Superintendent Ross Cunningham is directing the project, and he spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello about their plan.

How will this new community corrections center help inmates?

What it Takes to Overcome Addiction in N.H.

Jun 6, 2016
BFD Lt / flickr/cc

We kick off the Morning Edition series, Hope on the Front Lines, examining the many efforts around the state helping people overcome addiction.  We'll look at the array of approaches available in the state including new medicines that curb drug cravings as well as others that revive overdose victims.  Recovery coaches, counselors and doctors are also involved on the the long road to full recovery. 


Jeff Pearson became addicted to heroin more than 30 years ago. Along the way, he racked up 80 drug-related offenses, went to prison five times and made dozens of rehab attempts, including several years standing in line for his daily dose of methadone.

In January, Pearson received a prescription for Suboxone, a medication that suppresses the symptoms of withdrawal. Four months later, he’s still surprised he’s not foraging for drugs every day, like he did for so many years.

What We Know - And Don't Know - About Suboxone

May 4, 2016

Talk to people on the front lines of New Hampshire’s opioid crisis, and most of them will agree that addiction is a chronic disease. Yet there is still resistance to using medication to treat it.

Tym Rourke, who chairs the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention and Treatment, says that some substance-abuse programs refuse to use methadone or Suboxone.

eric molina / Flickr/CC

We're checking in on the state's response to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Addressing N.H.'s Addiction Counselor Shortage

Mar 1, 2016
Phoenix House Academy of Dublin / Flickr/CC

As overdose deaths skyrocket,  there's been a statewide call for more access to drug treatment, and more funding for it.  But treatment centers are scrambling to find and keep enough trained staff to meet the demand.  Chronic issues, such as low pay and bureaucracy add to the burden of helping a patient through recovery.

File Photo / NHPR

 

 Senator Jeanne Shaheen is calling for an additional $600 million in emergency federal funding to tackle opioid and heroin misuse across the country — and she says, as in previous public health crises, the federal government needs to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to this issue.

“We’re really looking at, how can we have a coordinated effort? The federal government did that in fighting Ebola. They’ve done that in other health emergencies,” Shaheen said. “We’re saying that this is a health emergency, and we need to ramp in the same way to fight it on all fronts.”

Farnum Center

The N.H. Department of Health and Human Services is making changes to its licensing requirements for in-patient drug and alcohol treatment centers in order to address a statewide shortage of beds.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Since appointed by Governor Hassan to lead the fight against an epidemic of heroin and opioid abuse, Wozmak has faced some political pushback and a budget impasse. We’ll talk with him about that and hear his plan for marshaling the state’s resources to tackle drug abuse and overdose deaths.

GUEST:

  • Jack Wozmak – New Hampshire’s senior director of Substance Misuse and Behavioral Health for the Governor’s Office, also known as the state’s ‘drug czar.’