Opioid overdose deaths dip in Nashua
NASHUA – American Medical Response reports that Nashua opioid overdose deaths are down 12 percent in the last 365 days.
In February, there were 22 opioid related overdoses, and there were two confirmed opioid deaths, with two deaths pending toxicology confirmation. In 2019, there have been 47 opioid overdoses in the city, and there have been four opioid related deaths in Nashua with two pending toxicology year-to-date.
Although the situation seems to be improving in Nashua, there is much more to do. To that end, officials at Revive Recovery Center are considering and expansion. However, Revive Program Director Jess Parnell said the pool of certified recovery support workers (CRSWs) in New Hampshire needs to expand, as well.
She said there is a significant shortage of support workers statewide, although many in the field of substance use disorder recovery have or are currently working toward becoming certified. The CRSW is a New Hampshire state certification to which recovery coaches, case managers and other professionals working in the field may aspire.
Revive is helping to fill the gap by hosting quarterly training sessions and providing opportunities to achieve requirements needed for certification.
“It is open to the public, and if they are interested, they could get in contact with me,” Parnell said
Parnell is one of two CRSWs at Revive, which is located at 263 Main St. in Nashua. They can be contacted at 888-317-8312. She said three others at Revive are currently working toward certification. Among other requirements, certification involves a series of trainings, 500 hours of work in the field and 25 hours of supervision. The trainings Revive hosts throughout the year are referred to as Recovery Coach Bootcamp, as they consist of two weeks of back-to-back all-day training.
“A lot of times, people that go through the trainings have lived experience. It’s not a requirement, but usually, people do,” Parnell said. “So, it gives someone who goes through the trainings the ability to start working in the field to see if it’s something that they like, and it’s a good profession to be in where they can make a decent living.”
For Parnell, these trainings to become a CRSW were actually a requirement at her previous job, which is how she got involved in the process. Through time, she was able to get everything together on her own, take the test and get certified. Additionally, she said a CRSW gives an agency they work for the ability to bill for Medicaid.
“The bootcamp is like an umbrella term for all of the trainings,” Parnell said. “So, you do recovery coach academy, ethics, suicide prevention and HIV.”
She said the training generally lasts from 9 a.m. until about 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. people will undergo these various trainings. If people are interested in getting a scholarship for these trainings, she said applications can be picked up at the center. They will be accepting applications until March 29.
Moreover, Parnell said the center just got their Medicaid number approved this week. With that they can start billing for recovery coach services.
“Now that we did get our Medicaid number, we are looking to expand and hopefully hire new people, but we don’t know what that looks like until we get a final answer on what our funding is going to look like for this next fiscal year, which is in July,” Parnell said.
“So, within the next couple weeks, we’ll probably find out more specifically what that looks like and that will tell us whether or not we can hire more people.”
If it were up to Parnell, she prefer to see 20 new hires. Realistically, however, they will be looking to hire one or two people.
Parnell said Revive’s lease expires at the end of June. Therefore, the agency might have to move if it can expand, mainly because officials would then need a larger building. The problem is, Revive is a relatively new program, so Parnell said people are just learning where it is located. Revive opened its doors in October 2017. Since then, Revive has also faced the issue of the building not being handicap accessible. She has reached out to Habitat for Humanity, and plans to sit down and see what it would take to get their building to be handicap accessible.
“I think, probably, after re-evaluating our funding situation, we’re going to consider moving,” Parnell said.
Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at email@example.com.