Action Alert – Help Needed – Urgent

Hello all,

Our friends from SOS have done an amazing thing by opening a shelter during this cold weather. They did it on the fly and are in desperate need of your help. Please read their ask here:

Self Care is Non-negotiable


We need volunteer help immediately and food, refreshments, and coffee for an emergency 24 hour warming shelter in Rochester at the Recreation Center at 150 Wakefield St. (back entrance to Great Room)!
SOS is working with the City of Rochester, the Strafford County Public Health Network, Emergency Management, Rochester Fire, Tri-City Coop and the Rochester Rec Center to provide a warming center 23 hours a day  through at least Monday due to the bitter cold.  Dinner will be being served this evening by Straight Street Outreach at the center.  We have cots and blankets set up and had approximately 20 people last night spend the night.  We told them if they provide the space we will get the volunteers to staff it, so please help if you can.

We desperately need volunteer staffing.
Sign up here: you need to do to staff is come down and keep an eye on things help people coming in, greet them, show them where the showers are and provide any support needed.  We also need some donations of food, snacks, coffee, beverages and whatever you might offer to keep peoples stomachs filled while they get out from this bitter cold!

We have created an online sign up that you can sign up for shifts.  We have a dire need to get slots filled for today as early as 8am this morning!  We opened the center last night by 6pm on about 2 hours notice.  Anything you can do to sign up and help or drop food or beverages off would be greatly appreciated.  Center entrance is in the middle rear of the Rec Dept at 150 Wakefield St. in Rochester!  This is the only warming shelter that will operate 23 hours in the area.  Please be sure to get word out to anyone who needs it.

On behalf of everyone at SOS Recovery Community Organization thank you in advance for all you do to make this such a fantastic community with so much love and support.

SOS Recovery Community Center Rochester, NH Phone 603.841.2350.

Thank you and God Bless.

Xmas Tree in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Recognizing People in Recovery

Time Sensitive: Stories due Dec 8th details below!

Dear Friends:

This year, the Office of National Drug Control Policy will be decorating a Christmas Tree in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building that recognizes the millions of Americans who are impacted by substance use, celebrating recovery and commemorating those we have lost to substance use. All members of the White House staff will have the opportunity to learn some of your stories.

Please allow us to share your story or the story of your family in one of two ways:

– Celebrating Recovery: Send us a photo (shoulders up preferred) of yourself or of an important person in your life who is celebrating recovery. This Please also reply with information regarding:
—- Their First Name
—- Home State
—- Current Age
—- Years of Recovery
—- What the individual is proud of/ celebrating this year
Please note, by sharing stories, names, and photos, you are representing that you have obtained the consent from that person to have these details shared publicly.

– Remembering Those We Have Lost: Send us a photo (shoulders up preferred) of a loved one who isn’t with you because of addiction and substance use. Please also reply with:
—- Their First Name
—- Home State
—- Birth and Passing Years
—- A sentence about how you most want them to be remembered
—- Any other information you wish to share

We encourage you to share this with your networks, and appreciate your time in recognizing the people who matter most.

Please share your submissions to no later than Friday, December 10.

Peter Gaumond
Senior Policy Analyst
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Executive Office of the President

President Declares Opioid Crisis a Public Health Emergency

Tym Rourke and the NH Union Leader respond to the President’s declaration last week:

NH speaks: How to win the opioid fight

New Hampshire Sunday News
October 28. 2017 11:47PM

There’s been a lot of national attention on the opioid crisis, culminating in the President’s declaration last week of a national public health emergency. And that may mean more funding is coming to New Hampshire.

But where should that money go? What’s the fix?

We asked folks who have been on the front lines of the epidemic here for years for solutions. Here’s what they offered.

Unfettered access’

Rourke Tym Rourke (left) has chaired the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention and Treatment for eight years. He said he hopes the President’s declaration will bring more flexibility and funding to the table.

“Regardless of what part of the continuum you want to think about – more prevention, more treatment, more recovery – it’s about making sure that any individual has immediate, unfettered access to the things they need,” he said.

However, Rourke said, “None of this matters unless we can finally as a nation approach this disease just like we approach every other one. And the way we do that is people have insurance cards and they work.”

If people can’t access services, nothing will change, Rourke said. “Quite frankly, addiction (treatment) should not be paid for by grant,” he said.

Recovery housing

Patriquin Bryan Patriquin (left, showing his tattoos that read, “To thine own self be true”), 27, of Manchester has been in recovery from heroin addiction for nearly six years. A senior at Southern New Hampshire University, he has his own business and plans to pursue graduate school in clinical mental health counseling.

Patriquin says the greatest need for those new to recovery is safe housing. “When an individual gets out of treatment, very rarely does that person have a job waiting for them. Very rarely does that person have loved ones that are happy to see them,” he said. “Where does that individual go?”

Too often, he said, they end up back in their old environments and fall back into addiction.

Investing in recovery housing doesn’t get a lot of attention, Patriquin said. “But it’s going to save lives.”

Markevitz Susan Markievitz (left) of Windham lost her 25-year-old son Chad to an overdose in 2014; she has another son in recovery. She now runs a support group for parents like her in Derry.

If she had the ear of the President, she’d urge him to fund sober living programs that offer education and job search skills to help people get back on their feet after treatment. “Not only are they fighting their addiction, but their minds are also swirling: ‘Where am I going to get a job? How can I work?'”

Full-service recovery 

MarstonDonna Marston (left) became an unwilling expert on opioid addiction when her son became addicted. Since then, she’s created support groups for parents, written two books about her family’s journey, and started a scholarship program to help those in recovery with expenses. She also hosts an online support group that draws members from all over the country.

Marston said if she had a million dollars, she would build a full-service campus to bring people through detox, inpatient treatment and recovery. “The program would fill in the gaps that people often fall through when they are in early recovery such as day care, transportation, how to live a life without drama, chaos and lying,” she said.

It also would provide parents and other family members support services. 

Insurance coverage

Freeman Sarah Freeman (left) is executive director of New Hampshire Providers Association, which represents prevention, treatment and recovery providers. She said in the view of providers, two of the biggest barriers are financial uncertainty and workforce shortages.

She said it’s difficult for providers to expand services when they don’t know if programs such as Medicaid expansion will even be there; it’s currently due to sunset at the end of 2018. “If we’re not going to have a way to pay providers who treat those folks, there’s no safety net,” she said.

Merritt Michele Merritt (left), senior vice president and policy director at New Futures, said making sure that Medicaid and private insurance cover treatment and recovery is critical. “If we’re going to make a dent in the opioid crisis, the things we should be doing are ensuring that people have access to affordable health coverage, and once they have that coverage, that they can actually use it.”

Merritt said New Hampshire has been able to increase investment in recovery support services and prevention only because Medicaid expansion covers the cost of treatment for thousands of state residents.

Mentor the youth

Canfield Laconia Police Chief Matthew Canfield (left) says it will take a multi-pronged approach to address the crisis, including treatment, law enforcement and drug courts.

But Canfield said what’s often overlooked is prevention.

His idea is to have police officers serve as mentors to middle-school students, and have students do their own research about the devastating effects of drugs and then teach their peers.

“Because once somebody is addicted to heroin, it takes such a strong hold on them,” he said. “Even if they get treatment and they become sober, it’s a lifelong struggle.

“So let’s put more time and effort and resources into prevention before people have the opportunity to try this stuff,” he said.

Cut the strings

Crews Melissa Crews (left) serves on the board of Hope for New Hampshire Recovery. A successful business owner, she’s been in recovery for 24 years.

She wants to see more funding for accredited peer support programs “without burdensome strings or mandating billing system requirements.”

And it’s the same for recovery housing, she said. “Push National Addiction Recovery Residence accreditation and let that be enough to help these houses get up and running.”

Crews said it’s critical to have services available immediately. “It takes guts and courage to ask for help,” she said. “When you are turned away, it is devastating.”

Higher reimbursement

SpoffordEric Spofford (left) is founder and CEO of Salem-based Granite Recovery Centers, which has five facilities in New Hampshire that provide the full range of services from medical detox to sober living.

Spofford is a recovering heroin addict; he’ll celebrate 11 years of sobriety in December.

He said one needed fix is an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for inpatient residential treatment, currently $162 a day. He said that is a fraction of what private insurance will reimburse for such treatment, and doesn’t cover his operating costs.

Merritt from New Futures said reimbursement rates for substance use disorder services are “chronically low, which makes it really difficult to attract clinicians to serve this population.”

“An incentive in the form of enhanced reimbursement would make a world of difference,” she said.

And Freeman from N.H. Providers Association proposes the state adopt loan forgiveness programs for young people who go into the treatment field, especially in underserved areas where they’re needed.

If Donna Marston could ask one thing of the President about opioid addiction, she said, “It would be to educate people that this is a brain disease.”

“They’re good people who are sick,” she said. “They’ve got a hole in their soul and they’re looking to fill it. And they fill it with drugs.”

Marston said she’s one of the “lucky ones.”

Her son has been in recovery for more than 9 years; he has a “beautiful wife,” she said. And their first child, a son, was born on Friday.

“So blessings come out of this nightmare,” she said.


Full article can be found here: