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May 4, 2016 5:48 PM

'Safe Station' program opens fire departments to those seeking addiction help

NH1.com

MANCHESTER - In response to a record number of overdoses, leaders from across the state and the Queen city announced two major initiatives aimed at making it easier for those struggling with addiction to get the help they need.

The City of Manchester is rolling out "Safe Station" which designates all 10 fire departments as places where people can go to get connected with treatment services.

The person will undergo a basic evaluation from a firefighter while the station calls over the radio "Code Hope." That call means a call will be made to an alcohol and drug counselor, who will help the person get into treatment.

"Many people just don't know where to begin," said City of Manchester EMS Coordinator Chris Hickey.

The idea was born just a few weeks ago when a firefighter's family member was dealing with their own addiction and was running out of hope. That firefighter invited the person to the station, made phone calls and within 48 hours the person was in a 30 day treatment program.

"Safe Station" is a partnership between the office of Mayor Ted Gatsas, the Board of Aldermen, Catholic Medical Center, American Medical Response and Hope for New Hampshire Recovery.

The second initiative is the expansion of Granite United Way's 2-1-1 hotline service. Callers anywhere in the state can dial 2-1-1 and get connected to a trained information and referral specialist who can provide information they need.

Colleen Shaughnessy is a multimedia journalist for NH1 News. You can email her at cshaughnessy@nh1.com and follow her on Twitter, @ColleenNH1.

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