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Despite 'Doorway' Expansion, Manchester Safe Station Numbers on the Rise

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Manchester Fire Department
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Four months into the state's new addiction treatment program, Manchester says it's still overwhelmed with the number of people seeking help in the city.

From January to March 2019, 541 people went to Manchester's Safe Stations for help with addiction, a 30 percent increase from the same time last year.

Over half of those people did not live in Manchester.

Officials had hoped for the opposite trend, after the state, backed by $45 million in federal money, oversaw the creation of the "Doorway" program, which includes nine regional offices across New Hampshire.

Chris Stawasz, Regional Director for American Medical Response, which provides emergency response services in Manchester and Nashua, says Manchester has historically served as the main hub for substance use disorder treatment and recovery.

One of the goals of the new Doorways program was to change that.

“We’re only three or four months into the program,” Stawasz said. “It's a very heavy lift to set up. But so far anyway, it's been a little disappointing that we haven't seen a reduction.”

Stawasz and others are hoping this reduction might begin with the Doorway publicity campaign, which the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services plans to roll out in May.

Jake Leon, a DHHS spokesman, says the campaign will build upon the Anyone, Anytime Initiative, which provides information about recovery and treatment resources throughout the state.

 

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

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