News & Press

SOMERSWORTH — The fourth largest county in the state has the second biggest opioid problem, according to the recent state figures.
The New Hampshire Drug Monitoring Initiative, a state reporting system that draws information from law enforcement, EMS and public health released a final report for 2016 as well as the latest monthly reports and Strafford County ranks second only to Hillsborough County.
Strafford County had a per capita rate of 4.39 deaths per 10,000 of population. Rockingham County, which is nearly three times the size of Strafford, had a rate of 2.99 according to the medical examiner’s office.
The latest 2017 figures show Strafford County still has the second highest suspected drug use resulting in overdose deaths.
Fentanyl is still the dominant killer and responsible for a majority of deaths, while cocaine is increasing.
Strafford County is the highest in the state for administering Narcan, the overdose reversal drug.

John Burns, of SOS Recovery, said the figures are not surprising because resources for the infrastructure needed are not being provided at a level that is consistent with the magnitude of the problem.

“There is nothing that is surprising,” Burns said. “Unfortunately, a lot of people were expecting it would turn around quickly when frankly just getting some of the rates to level off is progress.”

“I haven’t seen a single initiative since President Trump took office, other than talk,” Burns said. “At the state level, we doubled the alcohol fund but there was emergency funding included in the last biennium.”

He said without the added emergency funding the state essentially flat-funded the problem.

Burns said workforce issues continue to hamper recovery efforts. Because there was no funding for treatment, centers closed and workers moved on, now as they return to the workforce this is still a long licensing process.

“You can build all the treatment centers you want, but if you don’t have a workforce to man them that is problematic and that has been a challenge,” Burns said. “Across the spectrum, recovery supports receive minimal funding.

According to Burns, the state and country have gone decades without providing the resources needed and opioid addiction has reached a crisis point and it is not going to turn around quickly.

“When you look at how many deaths, I cannot think of any other crisis that would cause the death of this many people that would be treated with such limited resource,” Burns said. “To see that the numbers aren’t showing much improvement it any shouldn’t be a surprise.”

Burns said it is frustrating for those on the front lines to hear all the talk and see such a lack of action, but it is important to note the problem has gotten some attention.

“Here in New Hampshire we have a recovery community and providers and the boots on the ground,” he said. “You are probably not going to find more resourceful, creative and collaborative teams anywhere as you do particularly in Strafford County. When you look at what we are working with, some of the stuff that is going on, it blows my mind and I wonder how we are even pulling off what we are pulling off. It is a testimony to the recovery community, the prevention and treatment as well, who are just so dedicated.”

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NH Business Review

The United States is not doing enough to curb health care costs, primarily driven by unnecessary services, excess administrative costs and inefficiently delivered services, said Ed Prewitt, editorial director of NEJM Catalyst and keynote speaker at NH Business Review’s Health Care Trends forum held Thursday at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord.

Since 1980, U.S. health care spending has skyrocketed far beyond all other industrial nations, doubling the amount of health care spending per capita in Germany and Canada.

“We are far and away the largest user of health care per capita in the world,” said Prewitt, noting the growth started skyrocketing after 1980.

“Until then, the U.S. and other developed countries were tracking pretty closely, but it shot up. We’ve bent the cost curb just a little bit as a country. That’s still not very sustainable.”

According to the National Academy of Medicine, one-third of health care spending, or $750 billion, is unnecessary. The largest share, $210 billion, is attributed to unnecessary services, followed by excess administrative costs, at $150 billion, and inefficiently delivered services, at $130 billion. Prescriptions account for a fifth of costs, said Prewitt.is not doing enough to curb health care costs, primarily driven by unnecessary services, excess administrative costs and inefficiently delivered services, said Ed Prewitt, editorial director of NEJM Catalyst and keynote speaker at NH Business Review’s Health Care Trends forum held Thursday at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord.

Since 1980, U.S. health care spending has skyrocketed far beyond all other industrial nations, doubling the amount of health care spending per capita in Germany and Canada.

“We are far and away the largest user of health care per capita in the world,” said Prewitt, noting the growth started skyrocketing after 1980.

The panel was comprised of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Vice President Dr. William Brewster, John Burns, director of SOS Recovery Community Organization, attorney Adam Hamel of McLane Middleton and Alex Ray, owner of The Common Man Family of Restaurants.

“Fentanyl, I know all too many people who have died recently from that drug,” said Alex Ray, owner of The Common Man Family of Restaurants (far right). “My particular thing is AA; I try to get [employees] in personally.” To Rays right (from right to left) are Adam Hamel, John Burns and Dr. William Brewster.

Burns noted that with so much attention on the opioid crisis, the greater addiction crisis is being overlooked.

“When the opioid crisis is over, it’s going to be another drug crisis,” said Burns, who listed stimulants, methamphetamines and cocaine as common additive substances, as well as alcohol.

“Alcohol kills a lot more people,” said Burns.

Approximately 70 percent of employers are reporting prescription drug misuse as a problem and almost 30 percent of employees say they have family members who are struggling with addiction, said Hamel.

“Employers should really be getting individualized advice from their attorneys or counsel,” said Hamel. “The first step is a cultural step and that is making sure you have in place policies and programs,” as well as ensuring employees there are resources available to help, often through company’s benefits providers.

Ray, who has set up two addiction centers, one of which was sold to Easter Seals, tries personally to get employees struggling with alcohol abuse into Alcoholics Anonymous, even before they can get into a treatment program, where there is often a two- to four-week waiting list.

“Most of the people who need professional help don’t have any money because they used it all, so they come and say ‘I need help’ and I say ‘What can you do?’,” said Ray.

But employers need to be careful about how they approach employees they suspect are experiencing an addiction. Hamel said employers should focus on performance as a point of conversation, asking what the company could do to help employees, allowing them to open up versus providing a diagnosis.

Creating workplaces where individuals feel safe to speak about it have a huge impact, said Burns, who spoke of his personal experience of eventually opening up to his employer at the time about his daughter’s addiction.

His employer was completely understanding and supportive, Burns said. “I had always been a loyal, hardworking employee, but I’ll tell you I would have moved mountains for them from that day on,” said Burns.

 

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DOVER — They’re just calling to say that they love you.
Giving love, support and access to resources to those in the early stages of drug addiction recovery is what a group of volunteers and employees SOS Recovery Community Organization on a daily basis through its telephone recovery support service, or TRSS.
The peer-support organization makes upwards of 200 calls each week to let those on the other end that someone is thinking about them and ask how they can help.
“We let them know that we’re here and we care,” said Laina Reavis, an SOS employee who runs the organization’s Dover location where the TRSS is located.
The people Reavis and other trained volunteers call are those who are unable to come into one of its three centers and get peer support from others who are in recovery themselves.
The reasons why a person can’t make it into a center varies, she said. A person may not be comfortable around other people. It could be a single mother without time to go to a meeting or a person without transportation. Some may be on bail with restrictions that limit their travel. There are a lot of barriers facing people who are in recovery, Reavis said. Those providing call support work to remove obstacles to help those in recovery be successful.
Deirdre Boryszewski is an SOS volunteer who is 15 years into her long-term recovery from an alcohol addiction. She says it was people around her who showed they cared about her when she began her recovery that helped keep her on track. That’s what she strives to do when making her calls.
It helps others continue their recovery while providing a level of internal satisfaction. Like the time Boryszewski called a woman who was in the midst of stressful day. These are the times when a person is more vulnerable to relapse.
“Thank goodness you called. I’m having such a tough day,” the woman told her. Through the talk, the woman was able to conquer the dark feelings she was experiencing that day.

 

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DOVER — U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan talked about the state of recovery during a crowded legislative breakfast Monday morning in Dover.
The room was filled with state senators, state representatives, service providers and those in recovery from substance misuse who came together to talk about some victories in the state of recovery and some challenges that remain, particularly in the area of funding.
Coinciding with National Recovery Month, the breakfast at the SOS Recovery Organization’s Dover’s location was titled, “State of Recovery Supports in Strafford County.” It provided an update on recovery efforts and funding challenges in the region as well as the personal stories of those in long-term recovery from substance misuse.
The breakfast came on the heels of the finalized 2016 overdose death data in New Hampshire released last week by the medical examiner’s office. In 2016, 485 people died of drug overdoses, a 10 percent increase over the 2015 death count.
John Burns, director of the SOS Recovery Organization, highlighted the death count as evidence of inaction by state and federal policymakers in the ongoing opiate crisis. “We need a lot more action and a lot less meetings,” he said. “We had 485 of our loved ones die while we’re talking about this.”

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DOVER — Leaders in the recovery field and their community partners discussed what challenges them Monday morning during a legislative breakfast and panel discussion at SOS Recovery Community Center in Dover.

John Burns, the director of SOS Recovery, cited funding and a lack of housing for those in recovery as two of the key issues he sees at his Dover, Durham and Rochester centers. Burns said they have four staff members charged with keeping the buildings open 125 hours a week. They rely heavily on volunteers to keep programs running for those in recovery.

Burns said the centers in Rochester and Durham opened last year with $5,000 from NH Charitable Foundation. In April, the Dover location opened with assistance from Goodwin Community Health and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.

Burns said only 10 to 13 percent of the state funds designated to fight the drug epidemic go to peer recovery support services. Meanwhile, the Granite Hammer program for police has received $4 million over the course of the last two years, Burns said.

Burns said half of the people arrested through Granite Hammer funds are caught with possession of drugs.

“We need to stop arresting people and get them help,” Burns said.

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Published by Manchester Union Leader

Carrie Lover Conway, who works as the Strafford County criminal justice programming coordinator, said officials at the jail have been planning the voluntary programs for three to four months. The hope is inmates will choose to seek treatment for addiction issues instead of developing friendships with inmates who are negative influences.

Conway says 85 percent of the jail’s population struggles with addiction issues. The county jail holds local and federal inmates, as well as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees.

SOS Recovery Community Organization is helping officials at the jail pilot an educational program for inmates 30 days prior to their release. Conway said this program will include an introduction to the organization and training on the use of Naloxone.

Inmates will be given a Naloxone kit in case they find a friend or family member overdosing on drugs after they are released. Conway said the program is a proven best practice in Canada, and officials at the jail were open to trying it when the director of SOS Recovery Community Organization approached them about it.

John Burns, director of SOS Recovery — which has locations in Dover, Durham and Rochester — is in long-term recovery and said SOS Recovery is excited to be part of the initiative.

“It is our hope at SOS Recovery Community Organization, that the day will come when individuals are no longer incarcerated for substance use disorders, and instead will receive robust treatment and recovery resources immediately when needed. However, while we wait for that day and continue to advocate for it, we are excited to have partners that work as closely with SOS as Strafford County Criminal Justice Programming, to provide these critical, life-saving, resources,” Burns said in a statement.

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SOS Recovery Center has been awarded the 2017 Recovery Provider of the Year by the NH Providers Association

The NH Providers Association will be honoring SOS Recovery Center at their annual meeting.  The 2017 Provider award recipients earn a beautiful trophy to honor their work and a $100 to continue their good work!  Both gifts are presented at the annual meeting.

NH Providers Association Annual Meeting & Confidentiality Training

Thursday, July 20th from 9am – 12pm
Mills Falls in Meredith, NH.

Register:

http://events.eventzilla.net/e/nh-providers-association-annual-meeting–confidentiality-training-2138913930

Published by Foster’s Daily Democrat

DOVER — Elected officials, city employees, volunteers and community members gathered on Broadway to celebrate the grand opening of the new SOS Recovery Community Organization (SOS RCO) facility in Dover on Tuesday.

The facility provides another location in the Garrison City for those battling substance misuse.

“It’s a great day for Dover,” said state Sen. David Watters, D-Dover. “This shows what’s so great about this area. All these people coming together, seeing something that needed to be done, and doing it.

“I’ve always said the recovery committee is what’s going to get us out of this. We need this in Dover,” he continued.

SOS RCO offers many meetings and programs for those battling substance misuse. Programs include music and recovery, yoga, art, indoor rock climbing, white-water rafting and running groups. More information on events can be found at sosrco.org.

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Published by Foster’s Daily Democrat

DOVER — The historic Strand Theater was filled with music for a cause on Sunday, a benefit to aid people who are continuing the good fight against the opioid crisis facing Granite Staters.

Recovery Rocks/The Recovery Revolution was a benefit for SOS Recovery Community Centers. Currently the substance abuse disorder support centers are in three locations — Rochester, Durham and the newest just opening on April 17th in Dover.

“This is Recovery Rocks 2.0,” said Amanda Allen, fundraising chair and a recovery coach at SOS. “We did the first one last year, in Rochester, at the Opera House. We have six local artists who have donated their time today to provide great music for us and two photographers/film people who are documenting the day.”

SOS Director John Burns said the idea for the event began with last year’s concert in Rochester. He said they want to make the concerts an annual event.

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