Study Shows Safe Station's Success Relates to Price, Convenience and Attitude

Sep 17, 2018

Credit Sarah Gibson / New Hampshire Public Radio

Researchers at Dartmouth have completed a months-long study of Manchester's Safe Station program.

The city’s fire department started the effort about two and a half years ago as way to open their doors to those struggling with addiction.

Since then, they’ve logged more than 4,000 intakes, according to Chief Dan Goonan.

The National Institutes of Health was interested in formally documenting how the program works, as cities across the country are looking to replicate the model, said Lisa Marsch, with Dartmouth.

Her team conducted interviews with dozens of firefighters, medical workers, and individuals seeking help through the program. The interviews were conducted between September 2017 and April of this year.

Their data shows Safe Station’s success relates to its low price tag, its convenience, and the immediacy of the service firefighters are able to offer. Many individuals also pointed to a non-judgmental attitude among firefighters, she said.

The results come as some are questioning Safe Station's future here in New Hampshire. State leaders are rolling out a new plan for addiction treatment that Governor Chris Sununu says will replace the program over time.