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Answer to substance abuse problem isn't to build fancy hotels

To The Daily Sun,

Substance abuse centers work. I have witnessed it personally. Where lives are turned around and truly rehabilitated. Not just in a sense, cured of a disease, but being enabled to live a lifetime of fulfillment. People, given hope, and led out of a dark hole. And why? Because they were first given a chance. And the chance began within the walls of a substance abuse program not unlike what Alex Ray proposed to establish on the State School property in Laconia.

Laconia, along with many other cities and towns in this state, has found itself in the midst of a crisis. A substance abuse epidemic. Governments, local and in Washington, continue to throw more and more money at the problem but little, if anything, has changed. Now, when one man steps forward, a man who could quite frankly spend a lot less time and aggravation opening another profitable restaurant, proposes to establish a rehabilitation center, he is turned
away by both citizens, driven by suspicions and fears, and a local governance, seemingly out of touch with a social cancer, which is continuing to grow.

Honestly, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or be angry when I read of one former councilman's proposal to market the property as a potential location for a five-star resort. Yes, I thought: "That's the ticket"! The answer to our substance abuse problem in New Hampshire is to build more five-star resorts. Of course, why didn't we think of that before.

Al Blake
Gilmanton

 

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State School would be perfect place for addiction treatment

To The Daily Sun,

As so many already know, we have an epidemic. A drug epidemic. Many people are dying every day and even more are in the hospitals, rehabs, and jails. Everyone is talking about needing more police, adding onto the jail, adding more programs to the jails, having everyone carry Narcan, etc.

What I haven't heard much talk about is more rehabs. Not only places to detox and offer long-term rehab and dual-diagnosis rehab, but also affordable sober living places. Contributing to this epidemic is when an addict really wants to get help and there is no help available. There is a four-to six-week waiting list. So, what are they supposed to do?

Of course, if there is cash in hand, or private insurance to cover, beds seem to open up much quicker. Let's face it, how many addicts have those kinds of resources? Not too many. New Hampshire is 48th in this country for number of addiction and recovery programs available, but second in addiction. A little unbalanced and not in a good way.

If we were dealing with any other type of epidemic where people were dying, everyone would be scrambling to find ways to control it, and eradicate it. The state, counties, towns, and cities would be spending millions or even billions on plans, buildings, medical care, etc. to treat it and prevent as many deaths as possible, would they not? So, why is this epidemic so different? Why are so many people willing to look the other way?

Because it hasn't touched you and/or your family yet? Because there are still so many that are uneducated about addiction and believe that because they chose to start doing drugs, they deserve what happens to them.

Addiction is a chronic disease, just like any other chronic illness. And it's displacing children and families, and wiping out a whole generation of people. Why then, isn't there more talk of more rehabs and recovery centers? I have been wondering for a long time why someone didn't think about using the State School property for just that. It would be a perfect place. It offers plenty of room to be able to make it into a compound of sorts – a retreat. A short-term rehab as well as a long-term (six months to a year) rehab, because quite frankly, a 28-day rehab does very little for a hard-core addict. Perhaps even a sober living community.

Heck, while we are at it, let's throw in some regular Nar anon meetings, of which there are none in this area. Can you believe with this epidemic, and all the hurting families that could use some support, that the closest Nar anon support group is Manchester?

I read in this paper that some of the Laconia officials are against the idea of using the State School property for a rehab, even saying that the neighborhoods nearby do not want something like that in their neighborhoods.

I would not call the State School property "in their neighborhoods." There are neighborhoods much closer to the county jail than the State School. That's one of the beauties of using the State School property for a rehab is that there are very few neighborhoods remotely close to it.

As you may or may not realize, addiction is not just a disease of the addict, it is a family disease, a community disease and we need to band together and do everything humanly possible to try to end the stigma and the mentality of "not in my backyard, " and try to save lives.

One of the many things I've always admired about the Lakes Region is everyone always seems to be willing to pitch in to help others when it's needed. We need this to save our fellow human beings who are struggling with and battling this disease. The Lakes Region needs it, the State of New Hampshire needs it, families need it, and most importantly, the addicts need it if there will ever be any hope of getting this under control.

M.E. Drouin
Laconia

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