Conference Puts 'Safe Station' Program In Spotlight, Looks To Replicate Success

Oct 25, 2018

Credit Manchester Fire Department

Representatives with a number of different federal agencies tasked with responding to the opioid crisis were in Nashua Thursday for a conference on the city’s Safe Station program.

The event, co-sponsored by Nashua-based Harbor Homes and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, aimed to share results and best practices of the Safe Station model.

Several hundred people were in attendance.   

Federal health officials would like to see the Safe Stations approach – opening up fire stations as a first-stop for those seeking help with addiction – expand to other communities nationwide. "We feel if there's any way we can share [Nashua’s] model to save lives, we should partner with them," said Christopher Bersani, with HRSA’s regional office in Boston.  

Harbor Homes, which coordinates with the fire department to provide patient treatment and services, receives regular inquiries from other cities, often seeking advice for launching similar efforts, said CEO Peter Kelleher.

So far, though, Safe Station programs in New Hampshire have struggled to maintain reliable funding. It’s also unclear how they will integrate with Governor Chris Sununu's new Hub and Spoke plan to combat the opioid crisis, which largely relies on hospitals as entry points for patients seeking treatment.