Eastern Lakes Region Coalition for Healthy Families

Huggins Hospital has teamed up with the Carroll County Coalition for Public Health and Team Wolfeboro to begin development of a local coalition dedicated to supporting families and our community through our issue of substance misuse. If you are interested in joining the Eastern Lakes Region Coalition for Healthy Families, please contact Huggins Hospital's Senior Philanthropy & Community Health Officer, Susan Houghton, Ph.D.

The problem of substance misuse faced by our community, the state of NH and throughout our country is large and complex. Lives are being lost and futures are being destroyed. Our youth and families are suffering. Huggins Hospital’s recent Community Health Needs Assessment found that substance misuse is the number one health problem on the minds of our community members. We invite you to join us to share how we can work together toward a solution to this problem, starting close to home, focusing on support for youth and families.

What to do if your family faces a substance misuse problem

If you or your family faces a substance misuse problem, the first thing to know is, you are not alone. The second thing to know is: help and resources exist. Here are some things you can do and some places to go for help and information.

  • Make an appointment with a primary care provider who can make a medical assessment and diagnosis, help you set wellness goals and refer you to a specialized behavioral health or substance treatment provider if needed. Patient Access To Huggins – PATH – is available seven days a week at 603.569.7669 to help get you the care you need when you need it. Same day visits are usually available for children and adolescents, and often for adults.
  • Talk to your child if you know or suspect he or she is drinking or using drugs. When having this conversation, remember that substance misuse is a health and wellness issue. Some tips for having this conversation are available from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
  • Join the Eastern Lakes Region Coalition for Healthy Families to find out how you can learn more and help prevent substance misuse in our community.

Thursday, Jan. 25

Carroll County ranked in the top four for lowest rates of overdose deaths, EMS Narcan administration and opioid related emergency department visits according to the New Hampshire Drug Monitoring Initiative report for November.

Carroll County had the third lowest rates of overdose deaths and ED visits, and the fourth lowest rate of EMS Narcan administration.

Sullivan County had the lowest rate of overdose deaths at 0.91 people per 10,000 of the population. Cheshire County was second at 1.03 and Carroll was third with 1.67. Hillsborough County had the highest rate with 3.46.

Sullivan was also first with no EMS Narcan administrations in November. Grafton County had a rate of 0.56 per 10,000 people, Strafford County was 0.64 and Carroll came in at 0.84. Belknap had the highest rate at 3.15.

Interestingly, Belknap also had the lowest rate of opioid related emergency department visits in November at 0.99 per 10,000. Grafton was second at 1.23 and Carroll had 1.46. Strafford had the highest rate at 6.54.

Wednesday, Jan. 24

A 2015 study by the University of Michigan shows drops in alcohol, tobacco, and substance use in American teenagers in grades 8, 10, and 12. Use of alcohol and cigarettes were at a record low in 2015, and are currently at the lowest rate they have reached since 1975. Drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy or Molly), heroin, prescription drugs, bath salts, hallucinogens, crack cocaine, synthetic marijuana (K2 or Spice), and amphetamines have all declined in use among American students in grades 8, 10, and 12. And binge drinking rates in American students have also dropped significantly.

The study attributes these drops to increased prevention programming that is incorporated into school curriculums, which seems to deter students from trying illicit substances, alcohol, and tobacco. Education is especially important for newer, “designer” drugs, such as synthetic marijuana (e.g., Spice and K2) and bath salts (e.g., synthetic cathinones), which can be marketed as harmless, but are incredibly dangerous drugs that often have unpredictable results when taken.

The Governor Wentworth Regional School District is at the forefront of such prevention programming.

According to Susan Merrell, Director of Special Education and Counseling Services for the Governor Wentworth Regional School District, schools in the district are serious about prevention. They celebrated Red Ribbon Week, an effort by the National Family Partnership to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities, last October. The theme this year was, "Your Future Is Key...So Stay Drug Free."

The picture included is of middle school students forming the shape of a key with their pledges to remain drug free.

The district has developed a resource guide for parents that provides information about comprehensive guidance and the programs offered through counseling services within the district.  

That is also included here.

In addition, Susan Craig will be providing a full day of professional development to district staff on January 31. Craig is the author of Trauma-Sensitive Schools for Adolescent Years: Promoting Resiliency and Healing, Grades 6-12 and Trauma-Sensitive Schools: Learning Communities Transforming Children's Lives, K-5.

Tuesday, Jan. 23

According to a 2015 study by the Office of Adolescent Health, 17 percent of the boys and 16 percent of the girls in New Hampshire high schools reported they had five or more drinks of alcohol in a row within a couple of hours on at least one day (during the 30 days before the survey).

A study by the RAND Corporation in 2012 showed a voluntary substance prevention program held after school and presented by trained facilitators can help reduce alcohol use among young adolescents. Wolfeboro-area residents are extremely fortunate to have such a program at the Kingswood Youth Center.

The center offers several relevant programs and resources. Each Wednesday Eric Moran, a Certified Recovery Support Worker for White Horse Addiction Center, volunteers, building relationships with students and supporting substance misuse prevention goals. In “Ask Eric,” students may ask questions about drugs and alcohol and prevention topics. Moran addresses anonymous questions submitted through a box at the center.

* KYC hosts regular substance misuse prevention trivia with prizes.

* KYC offers focused presentations and discussions about the dangers of substances.  

* In 'Perspectives on Prevention,' KYC invites a police officer, a person in long-term recovery, an MLADC, and a family member of a person in long term recovery to speak about their experiences.

* Perhaps most importantly: by offering a safe, positive, and engaging place for teens to engage with peers and caring adults, the center dissuades high risk behaviors and encourages good choices including abstaining from substance misuse.

Monday, Jan. 22

According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free NH:

  • Most of the prescription drugs abused by teens come from family medicine cabinets and friends.
  • 1 out of 6 teens have used prescription drugs without a prescription.
  • 4 out of 10 teens believe that using prescription medications without a doctor's prescription is not dangerous.

Unwanted prescription drugs can be disposed of at a local police department drop box, one of which is located at the Wolfeboro Police Department. The drop box is accessible 24 hours a day.

“The drop box, and the police department’s unwanted pharmaceutical collections programs form one of the pillars of the department’s counter-drug effort, specifically its anti-pharmaceutical proliferation effort,” said Wolfeboro Chief of Police Dean Rondeau. “As such, it is critically important to have programs in place that remove these dangerous unwanted drugs from society and ‘off the streets’ before they become compromised, or end up in the wrong hands where they can cause severe hardships and dangerous addictions.”

 Click here for more information about drug disposal and the entire list of drop boxes in the state.

Straight Talk: A Call to Action - Held November 20, 2017

Event write-up

The coalition hosted a forum in November 2017 for families at the Kingswood Arts Center in Wolfeboro. The event, called Straight Talk: A Call to Action, included a panel of local experts hoping to provide the information families need to address the problem of substance misuse.

Our goal for the evening was to launch a community coalition to promote our kids’ ability to make healthy choices, and to support families in healthy drug-free living. We aim to energize parents to take action with their children and teens to address the problem of substance misuse. This interactive evening provided brief expert presentations and opportunities for conversation. The objective was to offer parents and families support resources, tools for action and ways to get involved in solving this major problem in our community. For more information about the event, please contact Huggins Hospital's Senior Philanthropy & Community Health Officer, Susan Houghton, Ph.D.