On September 14th Chief Brian Rhodes, Nashua Fire Chief, addressed the Rotary Club of Nashua regarding the Safe Station program. Chief Rhodes reviewed why we had to end our Safe Station program, which was started in fall 2016, to provide access for those struggling with addiction 24 hours/day. 
When the program was implemented, Nashua was seriously struggling with the opioid epidemic, and drug addiction. The program was initiated in Manchester, and was modified and adopted in Nashua. The program has since been very important to the city, but currently is not financially sustainable.   One of the original parameters of this program was that the program would have a time limit of no greater than 15 minutes for resources to become available to respond. More than ½ of the people accessing the safe stations were coming from outside of Nashua.
 
This program functioned extremely well for 4 years, helping with over 3500 incidents, and an under 11-minute response time.  For reasons outside of the Chief’s control, the contract for the Doorway program was pulled, and Southern NH Health had taken over the contract. Advocates for the program reviewed the critical importance of a 24-hour availability, but under the new contract, the program was only available from 8am-5pm Monday-Friday. 
 
This obstacle, in addition to others, has resulted in the end of the Safe Station 24-hour availability in Nashua. It is important to know that the service is still available in the community, but with new limited hours, from 8am and 5pm. COVID-19 also made maintaining the program extremely difficult and presented new challenges to keep his staff and co-workers safe.
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