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Future of State School property should be decided by Laconia

To The Daily Sun,

I serve as chair of Stand up Laconia and am writing on behalf of myself and the members of the executive committee of Stand up Laconia to express our pleasure in hearing Senator Jeanie Forrester's withdrawal of the recent proposal to build a treatment and recovery center at the site of the former Laconia State School. We would also like to thank Sen. Andrew Hosmer for being a dissenting vote last week and working on this issue diligently over the past few days.

We absolutely concur that local community treatment centers and recovery programming is crucial for the continuum of care for substance misuse treatment. To that end, there is already amazing work going in this community. Many of our SUL coalition members, including some of our executive committee members, are currently working with other local stakeholders on a variety of programs and increasing resources to offer to the people of the Lakes Region. These include Celebrate Recovery, Navigating Recovery of The Lakes Region,The Riverbank House, and the new Community Corrections Center that will soon be built, to name just a few. However, treatment is but one part of the solution and, to create a large treatment facility in Laconia without addressing the other parts of the substance abuse solution is not going to yield positive results for Laconia.

I would welcome Sen. Forrester to attend one of our SUL meetings or reach out to other's in the community who deal with the substance misuse issue on a daily basis to hear what the needs of this community really are and in what ways we could greatly benefit from our legislators assistance in battling this issue.. If you were to ask members of SUL what our vision is for the state school property, it would be to support our mission to decrease substance misuse in our community by effectively and compassionately advocating not just for treatment, but also for prevention, intervention and recovery. The opportunities for prevention, intervention and recovery work at the state school property are endless. It could provide prevention and recovery activities such as kayaking, swimming, fishing, walking trails, classes, crafts, a venue for our local small businesses to sell their products, possibly a local restaurant or inn to provide revenue to support the property.

The goal for our community should be to do our prevention, intervention and recovery work so well by providing meaningful, affordable and accessible activities and skill building that our need for treatment beds will significantly decline. Is this a pipe dream? Absolutely not! How do I know that? The energy and desire for change is present and growing in our community. SUL started five years ago with 15 of us sitting around a table. Initially, drawing community members to our coalition that were not involved in the area of substance misuse treatment was a challenge indeed. However, we believed there was a need in this community and we persisted, as did many other organizations and it is astounding the progress that has been made. The progress has been made because all sectors of our community, including parents, grandparents, law enforcement, schools, business community, faith community, legislators, health care providers, and others have come together, cared about the issue and said "enough is enough". The community has spoken and it does not want more lives lost to death or the unrelenting hold drugs can have on a person and their families.

It is time to again Stand Up Laconia. The state school property is the gem of Laconia and whatever vision unfolds on that landscape should be decided upon thoughtfully by the people of Laconia for the benefit of the people of Laconia.

Clare Persson, Chair

Stand Up Laconia

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N.H. spending millions to fight substance abuse while pushing liquor sales

To The Daily Sun,

Isn't this just to much.The N.H. House and Senate have passed another $9 million spending plan to fight the war on stupid. Its hard to see how much money has been allocated to finding a cure for stupid.

The last time I looked, this state plans to spend $200 million in the next biennium, between state and federal tax dollars. Where is all of this money going? I can tell you that the budget includes funding for two detectives that the governor, in her recommended budget, specifically described as being dedicated to drug-law enforcement. The combined cost for those two positions, including benefits and equipment (vehicles, etc), is $414,000 over the biennium. It is up to the executive branch to manage delivery of funds and services, and in turn produce measurable results. Concord is going to spend millions and all they will hope to come up with is "measurable results!" I find that funny coming from a state that ranks 34th for state integrity, transparency and accountability, ranks 49th in public access to information and ranks 39th in ethics enforcement agencies.
Now down to brass tacks. I had received a mailer on Thursday "The anticipation is over: "the new 12,000-sq.-ft. New Hampton Liquor and Wine outlet (in New Hampton) is now open, complete with coupons. Is it just me or is this state spending millions and millions fighting a loosing battle on substance abuse while promoting alcoholism. Is there any intelligent life in Concord?

Eric T. Rottenecker

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