DOVER — Public safety and social service officials will host a community forum on addiction and its connections with homelessness, mental health and other issues in the region.
Dover Police Chief Bill Breault and Fire Chief Paul Haas will host the educational forum from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Dover police station, located at 46 Chestnut St.
“This is at the forefront,” said Breault. “Every day I feel like I’m talking to a person or multiple people (about these issues).”
The forum will include a variety of frontline organizations and providers that work with the city to address substance misuse and the aforementioned issues. Those organizations will include SOS Recovery Community Organization, Community Action Partnership of Strafford County and others, and Breault said they’re participating to highlight Dover’s multi-pronged approach to the issues and the resources available for those who need them.
“I hope this forum will give us an opportunity to explain why we take a three-pronged approach,” he said. “We do enforcement efforts to combat it, but we just as equally do prevention efforts … and also outreach and social service work. We try to be more of a the bridge to treatment.”
The forum will take place a couple of weeks after SOS’ annual Recovery Rally in downtown Dover this Saturday, Sept. 14. The family-friendly rally, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Henry Law Park, will feature music, speakers, activities and exhibitors.
“The message of our Rally is hope and our purpose is to create awareness about the fact that recovery is not only possible, but is happening in our community,” SOS Director John Burns wrote in a statement. More information about the rally is available at SOSRCO.org.
Dover’s Sept. 28 forum on addiction also coincides with September being National Recovery Month. Now in its 30th year, National Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live a healthy and rewarding life, according to Burns.
Breault said the Sept. 28 forum invites community members to share their success stories and ideas, although he said the intent of conversation will be primarily geared toward educating the community about the ways in which “a whole host of people are trying to tackle these problems.”
“There are no silos,” he said. “We’re not trying to tackle it by ourselves. … We’re trying to roll it all together to show people how it all works together.”