New Hampshire ends contract with youth treatment center after teen overdoses

By Sarah Downey | The Center Square

New Hampshire has announced the cancellation of its contract with the Granite Pathways Youth Treatment Center, following the recent hospitalization of teen residents who overdosed at the Manchester facility.

A news release from Gov. Chris Sununu notes that the state is bringing in a new team, headed by Annette Escalante, director of the New Hampshire Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services, to handle operations, including transitioning out the five youths still residing at the center.

Pending a review of all state contracts with Granite Pathways, additional measures may be taken.

“As soon as we became aware of the situation at Granite Pathways, the State took action,” Sununu said in the news release. “Placing the care of a child over to another, be it a person or an organization, is a profound leap of faith. Tragically, there has been a serious breach of trust with this organization. Officials have begun the process of securing a new vendor to ensure that services are brought back online as quickly as possible to ensure the best possible outcomes for our at-risk youth.”

The state will be transparent in its review of what transpired at the addiction treatment center, and a public summary of what happened is expected soon, Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers said in the news release. “Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of the remaining youth in treatment at the Center. To that end, I have appointed Annette Escalante, who serves as the Director of the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services and has 25 years of clinical experience including 12 years running residential programs, to oversee the wind down of the operations.”

A statement from facility director Patricia Reed, published on the New Hampshire Public Radio website, states, “As a review takes place, we believe it is important to recognize that Granite Pathways is not a locked facility, nor does it utilize invasive search procedures. As such, we understand that youth may, from time to time, try to smuggle substances into the facility. We do our very best to ensure that this does not happen, while simultaneously being prepared if it does.”

Granite Pathways, which has operated the Manchester center since 2018, also runs two adult addiction treatment centers in New Hampshire; those contracts are now under review.

Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture
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