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ICYMI: Senators Shaheen, Hassan Participate in Friendship House Groundbreaking

BETHLEHEM – Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan participated last week in the groundbreaking ceremony for Friendship House, a substance use disorder treatment facility in Bethlehem, where they thanked those on the front lines of the opioid crisis for their work to expand prevention, treatment, and recovery services so that we can stem, and ultimately reverse, the tide of this epidemic.

See below for highlights of the coverage:

WMUR: Friendship House breaks ground on new facility in Bethlehem

By Suzanne Roantree

The North Country will be getting more help in fighting the ongoing opioid crisis.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Friday in Bethlehem on a state-of-the-art recovery center that will replace the existing Friendship House, which has served the area for more than 30 years.

Friendship House is the only addiction treatment center available in a 65-mile radius. Officials said it needed a new building to be able to continue its work.

"Friendship House has been in an old building for a very long time, and it doesn't meet code," U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said. "They can't get reimbursements for private insurance unless they upgrade this facility."

"This is an epidemic that is devastating our state, and we are not going to be able to be as strong as we can be until we turn the tide of this epidemic and beat it," U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan said.

Conway Daily Sun: U.S. senators attend opening of Friendship House

By Edith Tucker

Collaboration, perseverance and optimism were cited as key factors leading to the ceremonial groundbreaking Friday of a new 32-bed $5.4 million Friendship House treatment and recovery center on Route 302.

Nancy Frank, CEO of the non-profit North Country Health Consortium, welcomed a crowd that included U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan. “Our communities have recognized that it is time to treat addiction as a chronic disease with a medical model,” she said.

… The foundation has already been poured for the 17,588-square-foot center, which will offer a continuum of care to those battling drug and/or alcohol addiction. “It took an array of public officials and public monies plus nonprofit partnerships, as well as a truly remarkable anonymous $2.5 million philanthropic gift,” Claflin said.

Public dollars included two $500,000 Community Development Block Grants and $100,000 from the Northern Regional Border Commission, plus funding from the N.H. Community Development Finance Authority and the N.H. Housing Finance Authority. Thanks to Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers, a $250,000 grant was also made by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

… Shaheen said these solutions are a testament to the “‘can-do” attitude of the North Country. 

Hassan said efforts like building a new sustainable Friendship House serve to strengthen the state as it deals with a substance misuse crisis. Hassan said she is pleased the president has signed the first specific law she has sponsored: All doctors must understand that all opioids are addictive. She also thanked those who struggle with addiction and their families for having the courage to speak to her of their experiences.