CONCORD — More people waiting for a permanent place in the state’s substance use disorder (SUD) treatment system will have access to respite care services as the state on Wednesday approved contracts to double the number of respite beds.
Gov. Chris Sununu said the contracts the Executive Council approved should help lessen the demand for services in Manchester that until this point had been the only place to have these beds, 15 of them that the Farnum Center operates.
These two contracts costing $2.1 million over the next two years will supply 11 beds in Effingham to serve men and women and 12 beds in Nashua reserved only for male patients.
“A critical component to continuing New Hampshire’s success in combating the opioid crisis are respite care services,” Sununu said in a statement. “The additional respite beds, which will be available on a 24/7 basis, will assist The Doorway to provide short-term SUD care while those receiving treatment are assessed to receive long-term recovery services. These beds will also help to increase in-patient capacity in areas outside of Manchester to assist The Doorway with its mission of treating individuals in their community. I applaud the Executive Council for approving these important contracts.”
Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers said his agency had been working for several months to identify agencies that could bulk up these services.
The goal of these services is to provide help to those who are in crisis.
“These beds are critical to retaining individuals in treatment and keeping individuals engaged in their communities,” Meyers wrote in his request to the council.
“An additional purpose is to reduce the number of individuals who currently utilize other community services due to a lack of service availability, specifically, hospital emergency rooms or arrests and incarceration for public intoxication or vagrancy.”
Last July, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig declared that the Sununu-created Doorway program to treat those with opioid abuse “wasn’t working” because many outside the city were flocking to Manchester to receive services.
Local police and fire officials said this has led to a dramatic increase in the number of homeless people in Manchester.
Federal grants to fight the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire are providing the money for these new contracts.
The council approved these contracts unanimously.