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Mark Hayward's City Matters: Trump is coming to talk about drugs. What would you tell him?

March 16. 2018 11:29PM
“Do you really think people who have been addicts are going to be rehabbed in 14 days? Just when you start to feel good, they kick you out. No coping skills. No follow up. No money to continue. There's nothing out there.” — JUSTINE GINGRAS GAGNON of Goffstown, mother of Michaela Gingras, 24, a heroin addict who was murdered by her drug dealer last year in Boston 
President Trump visits Manchester on Monday and will visit the Manchester Central Fire Station's Safe Station operation. He will talk about drugs in New Hampshire.

I'm sure the police chief and fire chief will be there. There will likely be some elected officials and CEOs of nonprofits and other VIPs that have cleared Secret Service background checks.

Others will be missing. Frontline people who know about the drug crisis firsthand.

Here's what they think the President should know.

“We need programs that get to the heart of the matter — anger, resentment, bitterness. Things in our childhood. ... The military works because it's a brotherhood. We don't have that anymore; there's no sense of community.” — ANDREW MIKOLS, 27, a counselor who is sober for nearly three years. He enrolled in 15 treatment programs before finding the 15-month, faith-based Teen Challenge New Hampshire.

“Treatment is a voluntary decision on their part. They want help, but they're not forced to stay. If they would have to stay (in treatment) it would probably work a lot better.” — PETER FRANGGOS, captain, Manchester Fire Department Rescue 1

“There are good ideas to solve the problem, but the financing is not there. Places you go to for help, they're closing — Serenity Place, New Hampshire Hope for Recovery. Harbor Homes is having problems.” — MICHAEL McCARTHY, volunteer at 1269 Cafe, which provides lunches and faith-based programs to the homeless

Addicted emergency room “patients are scared, vulnerable, alone. I can imagine it takes a lot of courage to walk up to a Safe Station door and say 'I need help.' Now there are fewer unknowns.” — ERIN COLLINS, RN, Elliot Hospital emergency department nurse manager

“The drug epidemic takes over everything: all the homeless shelters, mental health programs, day shelters, parks. The addicts, they take over.” — LISA ANNE HAMPTON, homeless in Manchester

“We're not all sick, terrible individuals. We're parents, working people. ... I was wicked depressed. I wanted to get high. I didn't think there was a lot of hope for me, and it's really hard if you don't have insurance.” — KAYLA CRAWFORD, 28, addict for four years; 63 days sober

“It's not like I don't want to stop. I try; I really do. In a rough situation, I go back to it. ... Some days I'm good. Some days the depression gets the best of me, and I use it to drain my mind.” — SARA GRAY, mother of four (all taken by child protective services); started using three weeks ago after 125 days of sobriety

“I don't think there's going to be a quick fix to this. This is going to be an ongoing journey with hospital and community partners. There will be course corrections; we're learning as we go.” — DR. JOSEPH GUARNACCIA, Elliot Hospital medical director and emergency room physician

“It's impacting children, grandparents, the workplace, foster families, the community at large. It's got everything upside down. The day before (parent-and-child) reunification, I've seen a parent use again.” — JEANETTE BIRGE, Child and Family Services, director of child welfare services

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