Central NH Public Health Network Building a Continuum of Care for Substance Use Disorders

An entry from the News from the Network section of the NHPHA e-Newsletter, September issue

How many times have you heard this statement: “Sounds like a plan!?” Or this one: “I love it when a plan comes together?” Plenty of times, right? We have too, but to leaders at the Central New Hampshire Public Health Network (CNHPHN) those statements are more than a quip representing an intention. Leadership provided by the Communities For Alcohol- and Drug-free Youth (CADY) has led to implementation of a number of activities to provide education, training, and information to the Public Health Advisory Council (PHAC).  Similar efforts are being done in each of the 13 Public Health Networks statewide to facilitate development of comprehensive  “Continuums of Care” across the substance use disorders spectrum of prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery.

In January 30, 2015, the PHAC convened with 12 members in attendance for an interactive presentation of Prime For Life, a science-based alcohol and drug program designed to persuade resistant populations to examine and accept the need to change their attitudes and behaviors concerning alcohol and drug use.” Donna Magee, LADC and a Master’s level intern with CADY educated the group with a slide show overview of this values-oriented, evidence-based program used for substance use disorder education and recovery. Ms. Magee’s personal experience in administering the program in a variety of treatment settings provided the PHAC with greater insight into the program, its processes, and outcomes. Attendees also had an opportunity to get a feel for the impact of some of the program components by participating in several of the structured, facilitated activities that are part of the “Prime For Life” program.

On February 20, 2015, CADY hosted a Drug Court Lunch-‘N-Learn, with speakers from the Grafton County Drug Court. Lucille Amero, Grafton County Alternative Sentencing Director, and Jennifer Stone, Grafton County Drug Court Manager, spoke before a group of over 30 interested community members about the Drug Court model, how it operates in our region, and its ability to change lives. In addition, two Drug Court participants—both local people—shared their powerful stories of addiction, arrest, and recovery. Their descriptions of lives turned around, and even saved, by their participation in Drug Court gave a personal face to the story of addiction and underscored the documented positive outcomes and success of the program, including a 57.5%overall success rate since its inception in 2007.  

On May 22, 2015, CADY hosted its Fifteenth Annual Regional Prevention Summit on the Plymouth State University campus in Plymouth, NH. This event brings together over 200 participants, including the PHAC, from all core sectors to recognize community accomplishments in preventing and reducing youth tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use, spotlight youth development initiatives, and express appreciation to coalition partners. The Summit includes distinguished speakers from the state legislature and community leaders in the Substance Misuse Disorder prevention and treatment. Presentations serve to educate, inform, and inspire participants for continued collaborative action for positive change in the region.

All of these works will continue in the next two years in every public health region in order to improve the quality and seamless delivery of services across the continuum of care. 

So, the next time you hear “Sounds like a plan!” or “I love it when a plan comes together,” think of the impressive array of Continuum of Care Workplan activities being accomplished in central New Hampshire and in each of the 13 public health regions.

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