Kuster Visits Friendship House in Bethlehem to Discuss Importance of Substance Use Treatment in the North Country
**Earlier, Kuster met with students and offered remarks about preventing drug and alcohol use among youth at the CADY 17th Annual Regional Prevention Summit**
(Bethlehem, NH) – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, visited Friendship House treatment center in Bethlehem to discuss the future of the center and the importance of expanding substance use treatment services in the North Country. Friendship House is northern New Hampshire’s only short-term residential and outpatient treatment program serving individuals suffering from alcohol and substance use disorders. Recently, Tri-County CAP, the North Country Health Consortium and AHEAD, Inc. (Affordable Housing Education and Development), announced that AHEAD will purchase the facility and lead the construction of a new building, and the Health Consortium will take over staffing and operations.
Friendship House was recently featured in the New York Times as a facility that could suffer under the recently proposed budget by President Trump that would eliminate the Community Development Block Grants program.
“As the only residential treatment center in the North Country, Friendship House plays a pivotal role providing those struggling with substance misuse the support and service they need,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “It’s exciting that Friendship House will have the opportunity to expand through the collaboration between the North Country Health Consortium and AHEAD. This kind of collaboration and coordination is exactly what we need to effectively address the opioid crisis here in the North Country and all around our state. I know that there have been concerns about the impact of President Trump’s proposed budget on Friendship House, and access to substance use treatment in general, and I want to make it clear that I’m committed to fighting these misguided cuts and ensuring that the North Country has the resources it needs to address the opioid epidemic in the region.”
"We were so happy to welcome Congresswoman Kuster back to Friendship House to hear about our plans for the future,” said Nathan Morin, Director of Operations for Friendship House. “This opportunity allows us to broaden and strengthen as we move forward developing innovative and effective approaches to how we treat substance abuse in the North Country."
Earlier in the day, Congresswoman Kuster spoke at the 17th Annual Regional Prevention Summit hosted by Communities for Alcohol- and Drug-free Youth at Plymouth State University. Kuster discussed the importance of bringing together people from across disciplines to tackle the serious problem of substance abuse among New Hampshire youth.
Kuster has helped lead the fight to address the heroin and opioid crisis at the federal level and in New Hampshire, and she has been an outspoken advocate for the need to support medical, law enforcement, treatment, and recovery efforts. She also voiced her concerns about the impact a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have on access to addiction treatment services directly to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
As the co-founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, she was instrumental in the fight to pass 18 bills in the House to address the opioid crisis, and in recognition of her leadership on this issue, Kuster was appointed to the conference committee tasked with producing the final version of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).