Opioid addiction is a national epidemic, killing more than 33,000 people in 2015. Public health officials have called the current opioid epidemic the worst drug crisis in American history. In addition to being a health emergency, the opioid epidemic is also causing a financial crisis for communities as they are forced to pay the cost of imprisoning a growing number of individuals. Communities across the nation are searching for ways to help individuals out a problem that can feel inescapable. One community is Nashua, New Hampshire.
New Hampshire has a high rate of individuals struggling with addiction and very low rates of licensed providers who can help them. Harbor Homes is a nonprofit organization established in 1980 that serves vulnerable community members in the Greater Nashua and Southern New Hampshire regions. Harbor Homes belongs to the Partnership for Successful Living, which is a partnership of six agencies who work together to coordinate care for vulnerable individuals. Their services include residential, primary, behavioral care, and support services to low-income individuals who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or living with mental illness or other disabilities.
Harbor Homes recognized that there are many overlapping, complex factors that contribute to the opioid crisis in their community. In 2016 they worked with the mayor of Nashua to connect Harbor Homes, Keystone, and the local fire stations in a program called Safe Station that helps individuals seeking assistance with addiction recovery.