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Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire

Kuster Hosts Nashua Fire Chief Brian Rhodes at Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Roundtable on Successful Treatment & Recovery Strategies

May 15, 2018
Press Release

High resolution versions of these photos are available HERE and HERE.

The full conversation can be watched HERE.

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, chaired by Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), hosted a roundtable conversation on successful treatment strategies to address the opioid epidemic. Members of the Task Force heard from experts in the substance use field—including Nashua, New Hampshire’s Fire Chief Brian Rhodes—about their work on the ground to treat people struggling with addiction and expand access to recovery services. Rhodes oversees Nashua’s successful ‘Safe Stations’ intervention program, a first in the nation model, which uses fire stations as a designated safe environment for individuals seeking treatment.

“As communities in New Hampshire and across the country continue to grapple with the opioid epidemic, it is critical that we promote and invest in innovative programs - like Safe Stations - that are getting people into treatment and recovery and saving lives," said Congresswoman Kuster. “Overcoming substance use disorder is no easy feat, but the panelists the Task Force heard from today know what it takes and are making a real difference for those who are suffering from this disease. I appreciate Chief Rhodes and the other participants for sharing their first-hand experiences, and I look forward to continuing to work across the aisle to help tackle this crisis."

“We’re proud in Nashua to be spearheading solutions to stem the opioid epidemic by getting people struggling with substance use disorder the service they need to get well,” said Chief Rhodes. “I appreciate the opportunity to highlight the good work of the Nashua community as it relates to the Safe Stations program and efforts to address the opioid crisis. The men and women of Nashua Fire-Rescue, the treatment and recovery community, local hospitals, law enforcement, and local EMS are working tirelessly to take on this crisis.”

Earlier this year, Kuster introduced the Respond NOW Act, which would provide critical resources to those on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force has been a driver of Congressional action to take on the opioid crisis. The Task Force successfully pushed for the inclusion of $1 billion in funding as part of the 21st Century Cures Act to address the opioid epidemic and helped pass 14 bills which were signed into law as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). In January, the Task Force unveiled its legislative agenda for 2018. Two pieces of legislation on the agenda, the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act and the INTERDICT Act, have already been signed into law.

The Task Force was joined by Brian Rhodes, Fire Chief of Nashua, NH; Sadie Smith, MSW, a Senior Health Consultant at the Mosaic Group; Dr. Christopher Jones, Director of SAMHSA’s National Mental Health and Substance Policy Lab, and Joe Brogan, Chief Recovery Specialist at Lifeline Recovery Support Services.