The end of 2017 is in sight. With that comes the hectic nature of getting ready for the new year and often traveling and spending time with family and friends. Today I want to pause and reflect. To be honest, running a non-profit, especially one focused on substance use, pause does not come naturally. I think forcing myself to pause and reflect is needed and healthy, so I am doing just that today. Looking back on the year 2017 there is many smiles, while also many bittersweet moments.
When I visualize the past year I see many faces, the faces of youth we have worked with in prevention efforts, but we also see the faces of our comrades who lost their fight with substance use disorder. See what I mean by bittersweet? It was with those loses that brought a re-energizing feeling into our work, it created more purpose and intention to bring about change in a way that would save a life.
What has happened in the past year? I reached out to several of our partners in the community who work in prevention, treatment, and recovery and asked what some successes were in the field with the idea I would create a visual to share. Then I began thinking, when I heard all of these successes I did not need a visual, for I can imagine all of the people I know who are touched by substance use disorder and how this impacts them and their families. If you don't know anyone personally, just imagine your loved ones as you hear about the progress made this year.
In prevention, DEA360 was brought to our state by the DEA, the program increased the capacity of our young leaders in Manchester and state-wide; they engaged new partners such as the Monarch's and the Wahlberg Foundation. More schools were granted grants to work on prevention related activities through the state Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services. There were trainings for the boots on the ground in prevention whether a Drug-Free Community grantee or a Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator. I could do on about the list of progress these folks have done in their communities, from Drug Take Back Day to awareness events to behind the scenes with community stakeholders like businesses and hospitals. Their work is endless.
In treatment, there has been so much advocacy and legislation to help providers in the state give the best care they can to people living with substance use disorder. More community health centers giving coordinated care with mental health services, more expanded partnerships to increase access to treatment. This field is evolving in ways I wish it didn't have to, and they are able to reach more and more residents in the state that need help.
In recovery, funding was awarded to help build capacity for community recovery centers in each part of the state. These centers build resiliency in the folks that attend meetings and events, they have found ways to reach out to a very diverse population all in different stages of recovery. Some of these thoughtful leaders also created the NH Harm Reduction Coalition, who is the bridge to get people well, and build their readiness for treatment little by little.
As for the Partnership for a Drug-Free NH, we have our own list of successes. We launched the Speak Up campaign to reduce stigma by NH residents that may have been discriminated against; we even launched the campaign with Governor Sununu. We have been active in research on how to message our mission: the problems and solutions to substance misuse. The Partnership has also built our staff and became contracted with the state as well. We have more people than ever engaged in our work and sharing our messages, which reminds me to ask you to hop on our social media and share some of our messages with your friends and family. The list can go on, although so can the list of what needs to be done. Just remember that we are continuing to explore ways to message solutions. Our partners are engaging in advocacy to make state-wide and local changes, they are also making a difference every day. To learn more contact us and we will get you to the right place.