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Opioid Epidemic Getting Attention in Granite State

More addiction counselors and better coordination of care are two goals for those on the front lines fighting the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire. (Rotellam1 via wiki)
More addiction counselors and better coordination of care are two goals for those on the front lines fighting the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire. (Rotellam1 via wiki)
August 29, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. – New England is grappling with a major opioid epidemic, and those trying to help are working to coordinate efforts all across the granite state.

Dr. Molly Rossignol, an addiction medicine specialist in Concord, said that while the treatment landscape is changing and providers are learning more about this disease, finding the right treatment pathway is sometimes confusing for those who need help.

"There are people out there who are looking for help and cannot find it," Rossignol said. "So it's been difficult to navigate for patients - for families - to find care. If they do find care, they are sometimes put on a waiting list."

Rossignol will be the keynote speaker at the 2016 New Hampshire Behavioral Health Conference in October. She said she plans to address key addiction issues, including what she called the ever-present problem of social stigma that can reduce the chance that patients will get quality care.

According to Courtney Gray, executive director of the New Hampshire Providers Association, there is no shortage of effort by providers in the state, but there is a need for better coordination and more trained counselors in the addiction field.

“One of the hopes of the conference that we are having in October is to try to build some resources in terms of workforce capacity and teaching providers about integration and what integration will mean for New Hampshire,” Gray said.

Rossignol said she’s hopeful that the conference will help provide a solution to the bottlenecks currently in the system that can delay or deter those in need of treatment.

"Some people might need an inpatient stay, and there are wait lists for inpatient programs in our state,” she said. “And sometimes it's just being able to be able to be evaluated - to figure out where do I fit, what do I need."

The conference will be held Oct. 27-28 at the Attitash Grand Summit.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH