MILFORD — As several federal grants are about to come to an end, organizations working to fight the opioid crisis said Monday that they are relying on much-needed financial assistance.
“I will not give up,” said Charlotte Scott of the Southern Rockingham County Coalition for Healthy Youth, known as SoRock.
Her organization failed to receive two federal grants that it recently sought. SoRock’s funding ended on Sunday, she told Jim Carroll, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“I think sustainability has been a challenge for us,” Scott said during a roundtable discussion with Carroll, elected officials, students, community leaders and more.
Carroll, along with the NH Congressional delegation were at the Boys and Girls Club of Souhegan Valley on Monday morning to talk about the Drug-Free Communities program.
Mary Drew of Reality Check said her organization received a federal grant in 2016 to support recovery efforts in the region, focusing on mental health and substance misuse.
“In 2009, I began my own recovery,” she told the group.
During his third visit to New Hampshire, Carroll said he is responsible for overseeing $40 billion aimed to address the drug epidemic throughout the nation.
For him, it is also personal, as he previously placed someone into detox about 30 months ago. While that individual is now in recovery, Carroll stressed that every family should have a happy ending to this battle.
“We are not spending enough money. If we are going to save more lives … it is going to be an investment,” he said, adding the focus must not only be on treatment, but also on prevention efforts.
The goal, he said, is to prevent the addiction from ever taking shape. Previous generations would often experiment with drugs or other substances, said Carroll, adding that is not safe in today’s environment.
“Sadly, they try it once and it is fatal,” he said, adding more must be done.
Rep. Annie Kuster, D-NH, agreed, saying New Hampshire needs more recovery housing. As access to treatment is increased, she said trained individuals such as social workers are necessary to help address the issue, which is often a lifelong treatment and recovery process.
Representatives from youth organizations such as Community Action for Safe Teens, We’ve Got Your Back Winchester and Be The Solution — some of them part of the Drug-Free Communities program — were also present to relay concerns about the need for funding and other support to combat substance misuse.
Jeremy Miller of We’ve Got Your Back Winchester said his organization, which has no financial resources, is entering its 10th year. He said it relies on the support from elected officials advocating for the organization in Washington.
Sen. Maggie Hassan said the opioid problem has a ripple effect on local families, businesses and communities. “There are no silos in this crisis, and we need to do everything we can to move forward,” said Hassan. “ … But we need more resources and there is more work to do.”