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President praises Safe Station, calls it 'really quite incredible'

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

March 19. 2018 9:27PM
Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan speaks during President Donald Trump's visit to Central Fire Station on Monday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)



MANCHESTER — President Donald Trump told the city’s first responders they are saving lives — and “the whole country is talking about it” — during a brief visit Monday afternoon to Manchester Central Station, the birthplace of the city’s Safe Station program.

First lady Melania Trump, Mayor Joyce Craig and Gov. Chris Sununu joined the President when the presidential motorcade stopped at Central Fire Station en route to Manchester Community College, where Trump gave a speech detailing his “Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse.” The stop gave the President a firsthand look at the Safe Station program.

“It’s really quite incredible,” said Trump.

The White House Opioid Summit earlier this month included a video featuring Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan discussing the city’s Safe Station program, which transformed the Queen City’s 10 fire stations into intake centers where addicts head for help without fear of being arrested.

“It’s an access point to treatment,” Goonan told the President on Monday. “We have people come in, we treat them with respect, a hand shake, and we give them a shot at treatment about 100 percent of the time.”

The video, which features Goonan reporting a 30 percent reduction in Manchester’s overdose death rate in 2017, appears on a new website, www.crisisnextdoor.gov, which went live Monday as part of Trump’s opioid plan.

“New Hampshire was one of the first states to enter into this opioid crisis, but we will be one of the first states to come out of it,” said Sununu. “We need to make sure we’re getting to the kids before the drug dealers are. Anything we can do to provide a model and best practices for the rest of the country, and Safe Station has become the gold standard of access points and access to treatments.”

“I’m glad the President had the opportunity to see firsthand the good work our first responders are doing and the challenges they face serving on the front line of the opioid epidemic,” said Craig. “Our first responders are doing great jobs, but we do need more help. Federal funds are something we desperately need in our city.”

pfeely@unionleader.com


Public Safety Heroin Manchester


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