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Drug Treatment Center Opens at Sununu Youth Services Center

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

New Hampshire is weeks away from having a 36-bed drug treatment center for youth.

The Youth Substance Use Disorder Treatment Center, or SUD, is in a renovated wing of the Sununu Youth Services Center, a youth detention center in Manchester.
With cinder block walls and small bedrooms, the wing has retained an institutional look, but it is entirely separate from the secure detention center, with a separate entrance, parking lot, a space for yoga and meditation, and outdoor fields.

It is run by Granite Pathways, an organization that is part of the national non-profit Fedcap, whose mission is to "create opportunities for people with barriers to economic well-being."

Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR
A multipurpose room in the new adolescent drug treatment center at Sununu Youth Services Center.

Granite Pathways won the contract earlier this month after it submitted an application to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. It will pay $31,000 a month to rent the facility.


Donna Keefe, director of New Initiatives at Granite Pathways, says they are in the process of hiring staff for the center, which will include nurses and addiction and recovery coaches. 


"We love working with youth. Right now all our other programs are geared for adults," she says. "To help with the opioid crisis, early intervention is key."


Jeffrey Meyers, the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, says the facility will be open to all youth from the ages of 12-18 who are struggling with any kind of substance use disorder, from alcohol to opioids.

Youth who have served time in the adjacent detention facility and whom the court deems appropriate for release and treatment can get services at the center as well.

Credit Sarah Gibson / NHPR
The treatment center has 36 rooms, each with a bed, a desk, and a window. The doors to each room will remain unlocked.

Meyers says until now, families often had to send their kids out of state to get good services.

“This is the first treatment facility for substance use disorders for adolescents in the state of New Hampshire that’s dedicated solely for that adolescent substance misuse treatment, so this is really a big deal.”

Meyers expects most youth to stay for 28 days and for services to be covered by Medicaid or private insurance. It is unclear how residents will pay for treatment beyond 28 days.

Granite Pathways is hosting an open house at the new center on Wednesday, October 24 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.
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