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Jan 19, 2016 4:14 PM

Seacoast Matters: Amid opioid crisis, Porstmouth set to open NH's 3rd drug recovery center

PORTSMOUTH - After years of waiting, the Granite State’s opiate epidemic has given a new sense of urgency to the Seacoast’s need for a drug recovery center.

Now, Portsmouth city officials confirmed one is slated to open in the city.

It will be the third in the state and run by the non-profit, Safe Harbor.

“New Hampshire is ranked second to last in the country for ability to provide drug treatment for those seeking it,” said Sandi Coyle, Director of Safe Harbor.

Coyle says they hope to have the agreement secured by February with the center opening by April.

Three locations under final consideration are: The Frank Jones Center on the Route 1 Bypass, and retail spaces on Daniel Street, and Deer Street.

“It’s important to get up and running as soon as possible,” said Kim McNamara, Portsmouth Health Officer.

The center will not have overnight beds. During daytime hours, on-site counselors will help recovering addicts with therapy and referrals.

Peer support groups will also meet at the center. It will provide a safe place for addicts who have been released from emergency rooms or treatment and rehab programs.

Coyle predicts it will cost $325,000 to open the center, with an annual operating budget of about $260,000. Though she is applying for federal grants to help pay for the center’s operating costs, right now the only financial commitment they have is coming from Portsmouth city officials.

“We do believe we would have money through our budget,” said David Allen, Deputy City Manager.

“There’s a tremendous need,” he added.

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