Sen. Kelly Ayotte toured the Riverbank House residential community Friday and praised the addiction recovery programs which have been launched by its owner, Randy Bartlett. (Roger Amsden photo/for the Laconia Daily Sun)
By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) toured the Riverbank House residential community Friday afternoon and praised the addiction recovery programs being offered there.
"It's incredible what they're doing here. It was a learning experience for me. I'm very impressed with the long-term treatment and recovery programs they provide and the range of activities from yoga to paddle boards and kayaking which will be available," said Ayotte.
Riverbank House was founded by Randy Bartlett in 2012 and is in the midst of an expansion that will create a campus along both banks of the Winnipesaukee River just north of the Church Street Bridge. In the last several years, Bartlett has purchased a half dozen properties along the river, including a commercial property, and will ultimately expand the capacity of the facility from the 16 beds it began with and the 36 beds it offers today to 65 beds.
It is headquartered at 96 Church St., an impressive three-story mansion of 5,446 square feet topped with a widow's walk, where in 2014 Bartlett built a tree house, overlooking the river and linked to the building by hanging walkways, as an office and retreat.
While most of the property will provide housing, the commercial building will be renovated and converted to house a yoga studio, which will be open to the public, a gymnasium, cafe and meeting room. Bartlett has said that he also plans to add a licensed psychiatrist qualified to treat drug and alcohol addiction, who would work in the building.
"We're trying to develop a full spectrum of care for recovering addicts," Bartlett said. He stressed that the "length of stay is the single greatest predictor of success in overcoming addiction to drugs and alcohol." Riverbank House offers a five-month program, grounded in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Principles of Buddhism followed by up to 18 months of transitional living. The program, he described as a "structured regimen in lifestyle and recovery with a spiritual component," emphasizing that there are many roads to recovery, each suited to different individuals.
Ayotte discussed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, the bipartisan legislation intended to help combat the heroin epidemic that she has been working for nearly two years to pass and was approved 94-1 in the U.S. Senate this week.
The measure authorizes money for various treatment and prevention programs for a broad spectrum of addicts, including those in jail. It also strengthens prescription drug monitoring programs to help states and expands the availability of the drug naloxone, which helps reverse overdoses, to law enforcement agencies.
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