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Senator Hassan Visits SOS Recovery in Hampton to Discuss Federal Efforts to Combat Substance Misuse

HAMPTON – In case you missed it, Senator Maggie Hassan yesterday visited SOS Recovery Community Organization to discuss federal efforts to combat the substance misuse epidemic. The senator heard from recovery specialists and law enforcement about innovative approaches to help put more people on the path to recovery. Learn more about SOS Recovery Community Organization in Hampton here.


Senator Hassan worked with the rest of the New Hampshire delegation to ensure that the recently passed government funding bill for fiscal year 2020 – which is now law – continues funding the State Opioid Response grant program at $1.5 billion, and provides additional flexibility to expand treatment for meth and cocaine use.


See highlights from the Portsmouth Herald’s coverage below, or read the full piece here.


Portsmouth Herald: Hassan visits SOS Recovery in Hampton

By Alex LaCasse


U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said she was “very, very eager” to make sure federal dollars were bolstering efforts in combating substance misuse during a visit Wednesday at the SOS Recovery Community Organization in Hampton.


Hassan hosted a roundtable discussion with recovery specialists and law enforcement officials from Dover and Farmington who are part of the LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program.


Hassan said the purpose of her visit was to learn from all the stakeholders involved on the frontlines of the state’s addiction crisis. She said the visit will help inform future legislative efforts to support the recovery community after successfully building $1.5 billion worth of State Opioid Response Grants into the federal government’s budget for fiscal year 2020.


“One of the things we’re really trying to do in D.C. is make sure as we’re building a response to the (addiction) epidemic, that we are listening to people on the frontlines about what works and doesn’t work,” Hassan said. “We have to meet people where they are and give them options and also continue to do evidence-based work so that we’re investing our time, our effort, our dollars in things that are actually making a difference.”


LEAD is a national program that calls for officers to not arrest a person in certain situations and instead refer them to a case manager to help to treat underlying issues, like drug addiction or mental illness.


[…] Ashley Drew, SOS Recovery’s criminal justice recovery manager, serves as the intersection between individuals working through the LEAD program and assists them in navigating through the criminal justice process. She also works with Strafford County’s drug court and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s recovery programs as a coach.


“We have these conversations about the people we can’t serve because they have mental health (issues),” said Drew, who was Hassan’s guest of honor at the 2017 State of the Union following her advocacy work to get Medicaid expansion. Drew is in recovery herself and her appearance at the SOTU, marked just over a year since she became sober.


It’s frustrating because they don’t belong in the system,” she said.


SOS Recovery Director John Burns told Hassan the biggest remaining roadblock to overcoming New Hampshire’s addiction crisis was the lack of access to both affordable housing and recovery-friendly housing.


“Bonfire (Recovery) closed in Dover, that was mostly financial, there’s no money in recovery housing,” Burns said. “There’s nothing on the Seacoast either.