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New "Doorway" opens for people seeking substance use treatment

Daisy Pierce, Executive Director of Navigating Recovery, and Corey Gately, Director of Substance Use Services at LRGHealthcare, talk about The Doorway at a public forum at Lakes Region General Hospital. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
January 23, 2019
LACONIA – People seeking help for substance abuse have many different ways to access treatment through a state program called The Doorway, accessed locally through Lakes Region General Hospital and many different community partners.

Last Tuesday, LRGH hosted one of nine public listening sessions held throughout the state on the program.

The Doorway is meant to be a hub of resources for recovery within an hour of where someone lives.

Getting help has been a confusing process for many people with several different organizations, health agencies, and other parties as well as numerous pieces of conflicting information on where someone should go when.

"When people say 'I'm ready and I ned help,' [and] we aren't able to get help for them for weeks, that's not a good system," said Corey Gately, Director of Substance Use Services for LRGHealthcare.

Through The Doorway, there will be several different access points through the hospital, different substance abuse and health services organizations, the state's 211 information line, and many others. The program uses a hub and spoke model with people able to access the program at different spokes.

Gately said the hub is not treatment itself, but a way to connect people to get treatment. Gately said there is "no wrong door" in the hub to make connections and start getting help.

One entry to the Doorway is at the front entrance of LRGH. Volunteers are prepared to get a recovery coach, who are all Certified Recovery Support Workers (CRSW), to meet with the individual between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the week. They can get immediate access to a Substance Use Clinician for a medical assessment and the first steps of treatment.

On any time people can call the mainline number or dial 211 to be connected with an on-cal clinician for a telephone evaluation. Afterwards they can be referred to the Doorway during normal business hours.

No matter what day or time of day it is, a coach will be available to someone in the emergency department who has survived an overdose.

There are already a long list of different resources that people can access including recovery coaches through Navigating Recovery of the Lakes Region in Laconia, Plymouth Area Recovery Connection, White Horse Addiction Center in Ossipee, Sober Threads Peer Recovery and Support in Tilton, and other local organizations. They can also get assistance and referrals for housing, mental health, primary care, medication assisted treatment, and many more.

"This is really just the beginning, the beginning of what is finally going to happen in our community," Gately said.

In the week since the system went live, they had received a number of different calls from people asking for help for themselves, their parents, grandparents, and anyone else.

The program is primarily funded through a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration State Opioid Response. Gately said they will be applying for a number of other grants.

Gately said in the past getting connected to someone for an evaluation or assessment has not been easy.

Gately said she and Daisy Pierce, Executive Director of Navigating Recovery of the Lakes Region, have also been doing stigma reduction training at the hospital. She said they want to see anyone who is at any stage of addiction.

"One of the things that I think we heard said, it's critical to get folks into treatment as soon as possible," said Jacqueline Abikoff, the Executive Director of Horizons Recovery Center. "If you put them on a waiting list you're going to lose them."

The Doorway will work with people along the journey of their recovery and out them in contact with other needed resources. If someone needs inpatient treatment and no beds are available the coach will work with them until a bed becomes available. Engagement could also result in lowering the need for care.

Paul Racicot, Vice President of Medical Staff for LRGHealthcare, said the mortality rate for someone after six months of their initial overdose is "astronomical."

"I think we are ahead of the curb, and we're a community that came together, and that's the way you do it," Racicot said.

Garnet Hill
Martin Lord Osman
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