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Kuster discusses health care delivery

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Nashua, N.H., April 17, 2019 | By Grace Pecci
NASHUA – “We don’t say to people with diabetes, ‘We can’t treat you – you just ate cake.’ We say, ‘Wow, it’s really hard not to eat cake, but how can we help you and your family because you have a chronic disease that you should never have cake.”

These are the words of U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., during her Tuesday stop at Nashua’s Revive Recovery Center. Kuster made a couple of stops in Nashua to see how the state’s “Hub and Spoke”system is working.

“I think there’s this huge judgment. People are treated so poorly,” Kuster added.

“Hub and Spoke” aims to provide quick treatment for those experiencing substance use disorder. The plan is to provide a single-point entry for New Hampshire residents seeking treatment. Also known as The Doorway-NH, this is being funded through a $45.8 million, two-year federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Administration (SAMHSA) State Opioid Response grant. There are nine regional “hubs” for any person seeking treatment for opioid addiction. They are located throughout the state with the intention that those in need will not have to travel more than an hour to get help.

Nearly all hubs will be coordinated with hospitals. In Nashua, however, the nonprofit Granite Pathways is leading the way, as the hospitals are not participating.

Tuesday afternoon, Kuster visited both a “hub” and a “spoke” in Nashua to speak with officials about health care delivery and the opioid epidemic.

Kuster started with Granite Pathways treatment center. This organization offers screening, evaluation, medication-assisted treatment, referrals within the recommended level of care, referrals to interim services such as peer support, shelters, a phone service line and case management services.

Kuster spent time listening to Granite staff and other health care representatives discuss their daily activities. During the tour, Kuster expressed frustration of the fear that people have of regarding withdrawal, which she said is keeping people away from using those services.

Melbourne Moran Jr., director of integrated care and population health for Harbor Homes, shared with Kuster that Harbor Homes will administer drugs developed for the treatment of opioid addiction, such as Suboxone and Subutex.

Kuster also spoke to the stigma surrounding substance use disorder. Of the opioid crisis, Kuster said, “It’s a medical condition that can be treated, medically.

Revive is a nonprofit, peer recovery support center with a mission to open doors and open minds for the those in recovery. The organization offers services that target mental, physical and spiritual well being.

Their recovery services include peer support recovery coaching, telephone support services, volunteer and internship opportunities. They also honor all paths to recovery with support groups.

In addition, they offer activities and classes such as yoga, meditation, music and art.

As noted on the nonprofit’s website, Revive offers “a safe place to gather and take a breath.”

At the end of her visit, Kuster said she was impressed with the collaboration of the services offered to those in need. The important things in addressing the crisis, she said, are education in prevention, long-term recovery treatment and tackling research methods.