SOS Recovery Celebrates Expansion in Rochester, Yet Still Faces Uncertain Future

Apr 5, 2018

John Burns is Director of SOS Recovery
Credit Jason Moon for NHPR

An addiction recovery center in Rochester celebrated a major expansion Thursday.

SOS Recovery started on the Seacoast just over 18 months ago in response to the worsening opioid crisis in the region. Since then, the peer recovery center says it’s had over 2,000 visits from people seeking help.

SOS Recovery Director John Burns says the demand was overwhelming their old space which was just about 500 square feet.

On Thursday, the center celebrated an expansion to 2,000 square feet, which is being offered by First Church Congregational at a steep discount.

“There is no way we expand into a space this size commercially," said Burns, "we don’t have the resources, we don’t have the funding. Having 2,000 square feet available to us is like gold for the recovery community.”

U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan praised SOS Recovery for its work in Rochester.
Credit Jason Moon for NHPR

Burns says the group still faces a lot of financial uncertainty moving forward. He says the amount of state funding they receive is set to decrease by at least 10 percent later this year.

“Frankly, we're way under-funded for the amount of services we're offering and I'm terrified of July and those cuts we face," Burns said.

Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan also spoke at the event. She praised SOS Recovery for its efforts locally and told the crowd that combating the opioid epidemic is a rare area of bipartisan agreement in Washington.

"We have great capacity in this country to do difficult things," Hassan said, "we are going to beat this and we are going to get better."

Also in attendance was Democratic Executive Councilor Chris Pappas. He said the state could do a better job in providing advice, alongside funding, to local groups providing recovery services.

"What we’ve seen is that are a number [of groups] that have the best intentions but don’t necessarily have the governance strategies or the organizational support to be able to sustain something over a period of time."