Craig selects hospital officials, city health director to head addiction council

New Hampshire Union Leader
January 24, 2018
Mark Hayward

MANCHESTER — Officials from the city’s two hospitals and city Health Director Tim Soucy will lead a council that will develop long-term strategies to help people suffering from drug addiction, Mayor Joyce Craig announced on Wednesday.

Craig said Soucy, Elliot Health System Vice President Steve Norton and Catholic Medical Center Vice President Alex Walker will co-chair the unnamed council.

“Every day we see the devastating effects of this crisis and believe strongly in a community-wide response and solution. CMC is looking forward to bringing its experience and expertise to this integrated approach,” Walker, the executive vice president and chief operating officer at CMC, said in a statement released by Craig’s office.

Craig spokesman Lauren Smith said the size of the council has yet to be determined, as well as the membership.

“It’s still something we’re formulating,” Smith said. She stressed that the council will address long-term strategies for helping people suffering from substance use disorder.

Craig and Gov. Chris Sununu announced that the Executive Council on Wednesday approved the transfer of state contracts from the addiction-treatment provider Serenity Place to several non-profit agencies. The agencies are taking over the functions of Serenity Place, which went into receivership late last month because of financial issues.

A day earlier, a judge approved a plan by Attorney General Gordon MacDonald that in essence ends Serenity Place and parcels its programs out to various other nonprofit agencies.

Those agencies include Families in Transition – New Horizons, the Farnum Center, Family Willows, Granite Pathways and Elliot Hospital.

“Substance Use Disorder programs are a critical component in our fight against addiction and the opioid crisis,” Sununu said in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with Mayor Joyce Craig as we move forward to ensure that programs that receive state resources have long term stability. Those struggling with addiction deserve nothing less than our best and we will not fail them.”

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