New Hampshire’s centers devoted to fighting opioid crisis struggle to hang on while awaiting funding

By John Suayan | The Center Square

Without much-needed federal funding, some of New Hampshire’s recovery centers say they will fall into a funding gap.

It has been nearly four months since the state applied for a national State Opioid Response grant. Nearly $30 million was requested for 16 recovery centers in New Hampshire.

Cheryle Pacapelli, project director at Harbor Care in Nashua, told New Hampshire Public Radio that her facility experienced a nearly 40 percent drop in funding, fearing that what is supposedly temporary could do long-term damage to centers like hers.

“Services that are currently being provided without the additional funding would need to be stopped,” Pacapelli told NHPR. “In some cases, recovery centers could close – at the very least their services would be impaired or reduced.”

John Burns, head of SOS Recovery in Rochester and Dover, said while his facility plays the waiting game as well, he has had to slash funding for his programs.

And the timing could not be any worse as overdose deaths continue with the reopening of the New Hampshire economy and his center is strapped for cash.

“We have lost close to 500 people several years in a row in this state,” Burns to NHPR. “I don’t think that’s going to stop if we cut funding.”

U.S. News & World Report reported that the University of New Hampshire received a federal $1 million grant to design programs to help people avoid opioids.

With the grant, UNH will provide free online resources and in-person workshops to help people handle chronic pain, as well as not fall victim to opioid addiction.

Kendra Lewis, youth and family resiliency state specialist, said New Hampshire has one of the highest drug-related death rates in the country.

“The opioid epidemic is not just an urban issue, it is a big concern in rural areas, which are highly concentrated with older adult residents dealing with pain on a daily basis,” Lewis told U.S. News & World Report. “Our hope is to offer all residents confronted with chronic pain, and their healthcare providers, different pain management options.”

New Hampshire reopening task force received 1,800 email messages in just over a week

The debate on whether to reopen New Hampshire’s economy was played out in a torrent of emails crowding the inboxes of Gov. Chris Sununu’s Economic Reopening Task Force during the spring.

The Concord Monitor reported that the task force received about 1,800 messages between April 22 and May 1, which translated into a war of words on close to 3,000 printed pages.

The newspaper reported that hundreds of salon owners and workers wrote the task force to address their displeasure with the head of the New Hampshire Cosmetology Association’s remarks during one of the task force’s first meetings.

Portsmouth salon owner Jami Barnes told the publication that while she was satisfied with the state’s guidelines for her and her counterparts, she thought her industry was used as a guinea pig.

“The whole thing really came off as they weren’t taking us seriously or our profession seriously,” Barnes told the newspaper. “From the top down, from the governor to the task force to then getting the information to us, and then us relaying all this to our clients, it just seemed like there was something amiss.”

The task force also received emails from members of other sectors and businesses, including what may be New Hampshire’s lone competitive and recreational aquatic training facility for dogs.

More messages came from mothers worried about their daughters’ upcoming weddings, another mother wondering when her daughter will have her braces removed, and an expectant mother who asserted that maternity clothing should be classified as essential.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Public domain
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One thought on “New Hampshire’s centers devoted to fighting opioid crisis struggle to hang on while awaiting funding

  1. This has been an act of war in my opinion.
    Millions of lives have been destroyed and what difference does it make if it was a bomb or a bug- the lives have been destroyed the same. The end results have been the same; death and destruction.

    You wait and see, the numbers of people that have died from the REACTION to this is going to knock your socks off.
    Believe me, we will push to see these numbers.
    These people WILL be held accountable.

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