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Providing information for People & Families to Recover

Director Cheryle Pacapelli

On the importance of Recovery Friendly Workplaces

Cheryle Pacapelli, the project director for the Facilitating Organization overseeing Peer Recovery Support Services and Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs) for the state of New Hampshire, discussed the importance of creating recovery friendly workplaces in a recent video.

Led by Governor Chris Sununu, New Hampshire's "Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative" promotes individual wellness for Granite Staters by empowering workplaces to provide support for people recovering from substance use disorder.

Checkout Cheryle's video, visit the Recovery Friendly Workplace website or learn more about the Facilitating Organization.

Compass House Provides Direction During Pandemic

(And afterwards.)
(Photo provided by The Laconia Daily Sun)
As the pandemic stormed across the country, many people who had felt like they were on a path to sustained recovery suddenly had the ground shift beneath them as the fragile stability of housing, employment and substance-use disorder treatment and peer recovery support services were transformed overnight.  

It became more vital than ever to provide people with a solid footing, an assurance that true north was still true amid the chaos. Compass House, a unique collaboration between Horizons Counseling Center, Navigating Recovery of the Lakes Region, and Lakes Region Community Developers (an affordable housing agency), provided that solid ground for women.  

The transitional living facility (that opened just a month before the virus began grabbing headlines and taking lives) provides housing, treatment, and recovery coaching to help women get back on their feet emotionally and economically.   

“The impact of COVID was huge,” Executive Director of Horizons Counseling Jacqui Abikoff said. And yet the facility never shut down and even continued to admit new clients and provide direction and safety.
Read the entire story at the Laconia Daily Sun

White Horse Grand Opening

On May 22, White Horse Recovery held a grand opening for a new thrift store at Indian Mound Plaza at 270 Route 16 B in Center Ossipee. The event featured live music, a meet-and-greet with comic artist J.K. Woodward, and a visit by Governor Chris Sununu.  

The thrift shop sells a wide variety of items, from antiques to clothing, electronics and furniture. The space also serves as a UPS access point/shipping center, as well as a copy center. The store also provides retail training to people in recovery.

During his presentation, Sununu complemented the RCO on its growth. “I think it’s absolutely phenomenal,” said Sununu, adding: “There’s a lot of families in need out there... and to have a place like this that can provide all these different types of supports, that’s open, welcoming and convenient, is exactly what you want to see. This is really a model for what we want to see sprout up across the state.”
Select image to view a full-sized photo or visit the
White Horse Recovery Facebook page for more information about the event.
Read the entire story at the Conway Daily Sun

The ARC comes to the Souhegan Valley

The Addiction Recovery Coalition of New Hampshire is a Community Recovery Center (ARCNH) that was recently selected to join 15 other Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs) as a contracted member of the New Hampshire Statewide Peer Recovery System facilitated by Harbor Care.

ARCNH’s Recovery Coaching Program unites individuals on the path to recovery from a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) with Coaches who have first-hand experience with SUD. Recovery Coaches empower individuals to develop their own definition of recovery and create a plan of action towards recovery.

In addition to joining RCOs such as Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, SOS Recovery, and Revive Recovery, ARCNH also recently received funding from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to support continued growth and development of ARCNH’s Peer-to-Peer Recovery Coaching Program, to increase community awareness of the ARCNH Community Recovery Center, and ultimately expand recovery services available in the Souhegan Valley.

Learn more about ARCNH

Incarcerating Illness: 

Re-entry, re-incarceration, re-entry... Rinse and repeat
"We need to stop arresting people who have SUD or mental health issues .. We need to stop putting people in cages. We still believe that if we hit them hard enough with a stick, they will get better."

John Burns,
Executive Director
SOS Recovery Community Organization
Many people in jail are there because of what they do to support their disease. We need to do better in how we help them overcome their disease, local recovery experts say.

In a Foster's Daily Democrat story, John Burns, executive director of SOS Recovery Community Organization of Greater Seacoast Community Health, said that there are not many programs available to incarcerated persons with substance use or mental health disorders, and often even less when a person is released.

"The problem is what puts them there in the first place, criminal activity, poverty, mental health issues and substance use is exacerbated by their time incarcerated. Going to jail is traumatic, so you are piling more trauma on top of trauma already there. That's a hard hole to climb out of. The more we punish, the less effective this is," Burns said.

"Until everyone sees Substance Use Disorder as the disease it is, and not as criminal activity, we are going to struggle to help anyone," said Peter Fifield, program director at The Doorway at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, the state's low-barrier evaluation and  referral-to-service program. "We send people to doctors for so many things and we should. Why not this?"
Read the entire story at Foster's Daily Democrat

SOS Recovery:
Nonprofit of the Year

SOS Recovery Community Organization was awarded the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce’s Nonprofit of the Year awarded at gala on June 4 at the Regatta Banquet & Conference Center.

SOS has established a reputation as an organization that helps people gain access to the care and resources they need to achieve their self-defined goals to find and maintain recovery, no mater where they are on their path.

This award is the most-recent in a long string of public recognition awards the RCO has received, including:
  • Named the 2017 Recovery Provider of the Year by the NH Providers Association.
  • Selected as the 2019 recipient of the Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Community Impact Award.
  • Recipient of the 2020 Granite State Award by Granite State College.
  • Recipient of The Falls Chamber Small Non-Profit of the Year 2020
  • Recipient of The Exeter Area Chamber Small Non-Profit of the Year 2021

Take the Time to Talk: Parenting in Recovery

Talking with small children about loss can be difficult, especially if the circumstances surrounding a loved one's death are a result of an accidental drug poisoning or untreated behavioral health condition. 

In the May "Parenting in Recovery" publication, the Facilitating Organization prepares parents to have these difficult conversations as well as discussing the importance of apologies and self care.
Download Parenting in Recovery Now
New Resource Alert:

Peer Recovery Center of Excellence

Peer-Recover-COEThe new Peer Recovery Center of Excellence (Peer Recovery CoE) is a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)-funded initiative developed to expand peer recovery support services' access to training and technical assistance services across the country.

The Peer Recovery CoE has four focus areas:  
  • Clinical Integration of Peers into Non-Traditional Settings,  
  • Recovery Community Organization Capacity Building,  
  • Peer Workforce Development, and  
  • Evidence-Based Practice & Practice-Based Evidence Dissemination.  
"We are a peer-led Center, advised by a steering committee of national leaders in recovery. We are thrilled to have peers at the forefront of work that supports and enhances the provision of peer recovery support services through expanding access to information, training and technical assistance to peers, organizations and communities across the country," the CoE's executive director said in its May newsletter.

The center accepts TA requests from anyone in need of training from across the nation for technical assistance relating to substance use disorder peer support services.
Learn more about the Peer Recovery CoE

When Changing Paradigms Means Saving Lives

Intravenous opioid and stimulant use -- especially when people don't have access to clean, sterile equipment -- should be measured not only by overdoses statistics, but also in the quiet decay of communities and bodies.

Or, as in the case of declining rates of endocarditis in Manchester, by the presence of harm-reduction programs like Queen City Exchange (QCE).

According to a story in Manchester Ink Link, the number of inpatient endocarditis cases with a co-occurring opioid-use disorder diagnosis grew from just three cases in 2011 to a high of 59 in 2017 and have since stabilized at 51 in 2019 (the last reported date in the article).

Endocarditis is an often-fatal infection of the heart lining caused by bacterial species that bypasses the skin, often through a needle puncture. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, IV drug users are 300 times more likely to die suddenly from infectious endocarditis than people who use drugs non-intravenously.

"The trend of declining numbers of endocarditis infections in part is likely due to the improved availability of sterile syringes provided by Queen City Exchange and other active syringe service programs in the state," said Lauren McGinley, the executive director of the New Hampshire Harm Reduction Coalition, which oversees QCE. 

Endocarditis-flyerMcGinley points to decades' of public health evidence and published reports indicating that syringe service programs (SSPs) help lower rates of infections, including HIV and Hepatitis. These sites are also often the only points of contact active drug users have with people in a position to connect them to services.

Andrew Warner, a volunteer at QCE and the recent subject of a Vice video about the perils of opioid addiction during COVID, is quoted in the Manchester Ink Link story as saying that the wider availability of sterile supplies can be linked to declining endocarditis cases because this date coincide with the summer 2017 passage of state legislation legalizing needle exchanges.

Queen City Exchange began operating in Manchester in early 2019 and NHHRC's Strafford County exchange, Hand Up Health Services, began operation shortly after the passage of the legislation, as well.

“And from there you can see the decline in overdose deaths and endocarditis,” Warner said.
Learn More About NHHRC

Op-Ed: Harm-Reduction Programs Save Lives

By Kerran Vigroux (Executive Director of the NH Providers Association.) and Ryan Fowler (Chair of the NHPA Policy Committee)
Op-EdBased on the Center for Disease Control’s latest provisional data on drug poisoning deaths, it is projected that the United States may be losing 90,000 American lives to drug poisoning every twelve months.

The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on marginalized populations is not new news. The impacts of isolation and economic hardship only added to the existing struggles of people living with a substance use disorder over the past 14 months. There are many factors involved in such drastic spikes in overdose rates. But what we know with certainty is that with a comprehensive Harm Reduction strategy, all drug-related death and disease is preventable.

After being hit early and hard by the overdose crisis, in the face of increasing drug deaths, Governor Sununu signed SB 234 into law in 2017. This bill legalized syringe services programs, otherwise known as needle exchanges, or harm reduction programs. For the past three years, the Granite State has seen overdose rates decrease while the rest of the nation has faced alarming increases. This trend is aligned with over 30 years of research demonstrating the efficacy of harm reduction programs.
Read the entire Op-Ed
Mike Gallagher, a certified recovery support worker with Navigating Recovery of the Lakes Region, Kate Frey, vice president of advocacy at New Futures, and Yunieska Krug, founder of Del Marillac Counseling Services in Manchester met with Laura Knoy from NHNPR's The Exchange to discuss the dangers of alcohol-use disorder during the pandemic.

Panelists agreed that the pandemic has been 'a journey from structure to chaos' for many people, lack of options has also played a role in peoples' setbacks. "One big issue was lack of resources and connection," Gallagher said, adding that treatment, peer recovery supports, employment and housing became "reduced" during the pandemic.

Frey called the combination of the public health crisis and substance-use disorder a "perfect storm," that tend to drive addictive behavior. "But this time we saw something different ... This time we saw regulations loosen ... to allow alcohol to be even more readily available, which isn't the healthiest choice." 

In fact, some state outlets even made alcohol available through online orders during the pandemic -- although the 10 stores regulated a two-bottle per night limit -- and the governor authorized a 10 percent hazard pay increase for liquor store staff.

The New Hampshire Way: Funding a system of treatment and recovery through a system of addiction

Virtually all state-generated funds for substance use disorder are allocated through the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs, a blue-ribbon commission authorized in 2000 to distribute money generated by the state’s sale of alcohol. Conceptually, the more alcohol purchased and consumed, the more money that is distributed to prevention, treatment and recovery community centers in the state.

Historically, however, only a small fraction of the "alcohol fund" has gone towards the system of care; more often, it is diverted into the general fund, even as Liquor Commission revenue has skyrocketed, according to NHPR.

According to the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute, however, although the state's Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services is slated to see an increase in State Fiscal Year 2022:

"The increase would be driven almost entirely by a boost in funding through the State Opioid Response Grant from the federal government."  Unfortunately, historically this funding has been directed at opioid use and has not been available to meet the uptick in alcohol-use disorder. (The state has requested leeway to include stimulant-use disorder as an acceptable expenditures for SOR.)

The most recent summary of activities report for Governor Sununu's low-barrier assessment and referral to service program (the Doorway), however, indicates steep increase of people seeking help to treat their alcohol use.

In the March 2019 report -- where this data was presented for the first time to the public -- alcohol accounted for just 67 of 308 reported cases.

Lethal Withdrawals 

Although alcohol-specific fatality data isn't captured in the state's Drug Monitoring Initiative website or its regular epidemiological report, alcohol withdrawals and overdoses can be lethal. Grand mal seizures are often violent, have a profound impact on the body, and people withdrawing quickly from alcohol may require hospitalization (a level of care most treatment providers are not comfortable meeting).

While some providers use medication-assisted treatment to help manage alcohol withdrawals, many do not. It is so rare, in fact, that medications used for managing alcohol withdrawal (acamprosate, disulfiram, or a breakdown of whether oral naltrexone is available in addition to injectable Vivitrol) are not even listed in the state's treatment locator:

According to a Journal of the American Medical Association report, "Medications are prescribed to less than 9% of patients who are likely to benefit from them, given evidence that they exert clinically meaningful effects and their inclusion in clinical practice guidelines as first-line treatments for moderate to severe alcohol-use disorder."

Sometimes a person with a significant alcohol-use disorder may even be told to 'sweat it out,' a situation that is more risky with alcohol than stimulants or opioids (where risk of death isn't as high).

"It’s like gasoline on fire."

The real-world consequences of an underfunded (or highly substance-specific) system of support and the deadly pandemic (which fuels the underlying condition of substance-use disorder, such as alienation, depression and loneliness, while exacerbating underlying mental health conditions) have meant many felt their safety nets stretching thin this year.

“It’s a daily battle, and it’s definitely harder [because of the pandemic], which severed social and work-life – including in-person connections that support mental health and addiction recovery. Being unemployed, or working at home by computer and meeting over Zoom with the camera off and the microphone muted, makes it tough to tune out inner voices and keep temptation at bay," Kelsey Harriman said in a Laconia Daily Sun story.

“It’s like gasoline on fire,” Harriman said.

As leaders in recovery have said, it's sometimes difficult to smell the smoke from the other side of a virtual meeting.

“They’re on a Zoom call and no one can see what’s in the mug,” said Daisy Pierce, director of Navigating Recovery. “You’re still doing a good or OK job and nobody is aware of your consumption.” Life online has morphed to include Zoom happy hours and trading recipes for new and exotic drinks, which has made it acceptable to drink more, Pierce said.

Keep Connected

In addition to the NH Recovery Fix, many recovery community organizations release regular newsletters about ongoing meetings and support groups and upcoming training opportunities.

Subscribe to:

The voice of recovery

Harbor Homes is collecting stories of recovery throughout the granite state. Check out our YouTube account for more videos.
Visit our YouTube Channel

Older Publications

Overdose Followup Kit

This short guide describes self-care for survivors of overdoses, tells you where to find help, and discusses safe practices designed to keep you and your loved ones stay alive.

Download the kit.

Family Resource Recovery Kit

Families suffer from addiction and recover together. Donna Marston has created a family recovery kit designed to help parents, grandparents, caretakers, and mentors begin to have difficult conversations about overdose and the grieving process. The guide also describes family dynamics around addiction and the importance of using person-first language.

Download the kit.

Tainted Stimulants in NH

Stimulants that are contaminated with fentanyl can be a deadly combination, particularly if the user has not developed tolerance for the opioid. Our FO team has created a flyer designed to help those still struggling with addiction identify risky substances. 

Download the flyer.


Better Know a System

General information on the New Hampshire Doorway Initiative


The well-known 2-1-1 system can direct you or your loved one to substance use disorder resources or connect you directly to Doorway NH staff, who can schedule assessments and referrals to services. Dial 2-1-1 today to start your journey.

The Doorway Website

The Doorway NH will direct you to the help you need, from screening and evaluation, to treatment including medication-assisted treatment, to long-term recovery supports. Doorway hours vary by location. Learn more

The New Hampshire Recovery Fix is produced by Harbor Care, the state's leader in integrated care and an agency dedicated to ending veteran homelessness in the Granite State.
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