Report details Manchester’s response to opioid crisis
MANCHESTER — Nearly 4,000 grams of drugs seized. More than 570 needles collected, and 350 Narcan kits distributed.
More than 19,000 visits to Hope For NH Recovery by individuals seeking help with addiction.
These are just a few of the statistics included in a 24-page report detailing the city of Manchester’s response to the opioid crisis in 2016. The report, scheduled to be delivered to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the community tonight at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, is a comprehensive look at all aspects of the response to the crisis in the Queen City — from police and fire statistics to school activities, from Safe Station to expanding addiction recovery services available in Manchester.
The report was compiled by staff in the city’s health department, along with help from the group Makin’ It Happen.
“This report shows the full scope of the response in the city,” said Manchester Health Director Tim Soucy. “We are making progress.”
In 2016, Manchester Fire Department and American Medical Response (AMR) reported 785 suspected overdose calls for service. Of those, 566 patients were treated with Naloxone and 90 were fatal overdoses related to opioids.
Following is a partial overview of the statistics included in the report, based on an advance copy of the document obtained by the New Hampshire Union Leader.
In 2016, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Aldermanic Special Committee on Alcohol, Drugs and Other Youth Services took the following actions:
• Endorsed the project at 293 Wilson St. to create Manchester Recovery and Treatment Services Center;
• Approved funding for the Serenity Place WRAP program, which served over 1,600 clients last year;
• Supported the use of a Manchester Rotary Grant by the school district to fund prevention resources for classroom teachers.
Granite United Way
In 2016, Granite United Way invested over $326,250 directly into the city’s response to the opioid crisis through donations providing support for Hope for NH Recovery/Amber’s Place; Helping Hands Outreach Safe Station respite; the city’s new drug court; expansion of drug take-back boxes; and the Leader in Me program at the Beech and Gossler schools.
Serenity Place experienced significant growth in 2016, including the opening of the Outpatient Services Center at 351 Chestnut St., the former Manchester police headquarters building. The Outpatient Services Center houses all outpatient services including individual and group counseling, family counseling, the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and the Impaired Driver Care Management Program (IDCMP). The administrative offices moved from 101 Manchester St. location to 351 Chestnut St. in order to reconfigure and renovate the space for the 28-day program and Lin’s Place — the women’s transitional living program (TLP). Significant facility improvements were also made at Tirrell House. the Men’s TLP.
Serenity Place served 2,281 clients in 2016, with 52 percent of these individuals reporting Manchester as their residence or last known address.
In 2016, the state legislature approved funding for the institution of drug courts at the Superior Court level. Hillsborough County North Superior Court began a drug court program in November.
The drug court system is essentially an intensive probation program for individuals needing addiction services and are likely to reoffend if not provided with treatment. The participants are required to report to court weekly, attend daily counseling and submit to several random drug tests weekly.
The drug court team, including Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan, oversees the supervision of the participants throughout the program, which lasts approximately 18 months. The goal of the program is to ultimately serve between 75-100 participants.
The report can be viewed below:
Recovery community center
Hope for NH Recovery opened a new permanent location at the corner of Valley and Wilson streets, in the former Hoitt’s Furniture Building. Renovations are complete and the fully operational community center covers over 9,100-square-feet, including a large open reception area with a café, a computer lab, art room, yoga and meditation space, a family room and two large meeting spaces.
In 2016, the Manchester center had 19,666 visits from over 1,200 members, seeing 50 people per day on average. These visitors come to Hope for NH Recovery to take part in a wide array of over 60 meetings per week, including meetings with recovery coaches. In 2016, there were a total of 766 documented hours of recovery coaching.
Families in Transition – New Horizons (FIT) is redeveloping the second floor of the Recovery and Treatment Center to expand individual and group therapy options for low-income women dealing with substance use disorders, as well as provide recovery housing units. The new center will double the existing number of women that the Family Willows Substance Use Treatment Center currently serves.
Eleven one-bedroom recovery housing apartments for mothers and children will be developed, while 11 double occupancy, recovery communal living units for single women will be developed on the third floor.
City police employ several strategies to address the opioid crisis in Manchester, including collaborating with state police on Operation Granite Hammer.
The program resulted in 94 arrests and the seizure of 777.1 grams of heroin, 2,205.8 grams of cocaine, 3.2 grams of crack, 144.5 grams of crystal meth, 833 grams of marijuana, four rifles, five pistols and $151,802 in drug-related funding.
City health officials worked with nine community partners in 2015-16 to distribute over 350 doses of Narcan to partner agencies. Narcan is also available to every school nurse in all public middle and high schools in the city.
Safe Station program
The Safe Station program launched on May 4, and by Dec. 31 the initiative reported 976 visits from individuals — 342 from Manchester — seeking help with addiction. From August to November in 2016 Manchester saw 51 fewer suspected overdoses than 2015. The expectation was that there would be a significant increase in overdoses in 2016 from 2015.
The report identifies several gaps in opioid crisis care, including:
• Workforce development — difficulty filling open positions with qualified applicants;
• Developmentally appropriate treatment and recovery support services for youth and young adults;
• Language barriers;
• Permanent supportive housing;
• Barriers to care including stigma, cost, insurance and long waits for care;
According to the report, plans for 2017 include:
• Increased collaboration in tracking and sharing data across organizations;
• Manchester Fire working with community partners to establish protocol for minors accessing Safe Station program;
• Expansion of recovery housing for women both single and parenting;
• Increasing gender specific, co-occurring and enhanced services to break the barriers to treatment for women including transportation and child care;