Franklin addiction recovery center to get $1 million renovation
At a press conference on Monday, Gov. Maggie Hassan will be joined by numerous state and local leaders to announce the renovation of one of the buildings on the campus to create a fully licensed 20-bed facility, which will augment the Easter Seals Farnum Center North facility on the grounds of the former homestead of Daniel Webster off Route 3.
That will increase the number of beds at the Farnum Center in its Manchester and Franklin facilities to about 60 beds, said Dr. Cheryl Wilkie, senior vice president of Farnum Center. The cost of renovations may go over the $1 million level, she said.
The nonprofit Farnam Center is taking out a loan to pay the cost, but will also accept donations to help pay the cost, Wilkie said.
“We’re very passionate about this,” Wilkie said. “We’re taking this on, but we would accept any help we can get.”
The additional beds come at a time when New Hampshire, which according to treatment specialists is lagging behind the rest of the country in providing treatment for substance abuse, is above the national average in opiod- and heroin-related deaths.
Last year, 321 people died of heroin overdoses in the Granite State — the highest number in the state’s history. The new beds will provide additional opportunities for people struggling with addiction, Wilkie said, though the beds will not just provide a place for Lakes Region people seeking help.
“When people call we have to tell them we are full; we are always full. But we can give them a ‘bed date’ when they can come and get treatment,” Wilkie said. “The additional beds in Franklin will help not just people in the Lakes Region, but the whole state, who need our services.”
Treatment options are limited statewide, Wilkie said, and funding can be an obstacle.
“Right now, many of the people seeking help are given outpatient options, whereas here they can get the treatment they need to really deal with their problems” at a cost of about $180 a day, she said.
More beds will make the bed dates sooner, which may save lives, she said.
“There’s nothing sadder than listening to a parent say, ‘My child is going to die if he or she doesn’t get treatment, and not be able to give them an immediate option,” Wilkie said. “For people who need treatment, a bed date is something they can hold on to, and they do, it gives them hope.”
Webster Place Recovery Center welcomes men and women ages 18 and up “to begin their journey of sobriety,” she said. About 80 percent of the people seeking help from the center are indigent, she said.
There are three buildings on the Webster Place campus, which was purchased by entrepreneur Alex Ray for a drug treatment center with the hope of creating a “peer-to-peer” treatment setting. In 2008, the buildings were given a $2 million dollar makeover. In 2011, the overall management and day-to-day operation of Webster Place was assigned to Easter Seals of New Hampshire.
Farnum officials are working to provide an additional 40 beds at the Franklin center, but have not received licensing for that project yet, Wilkie said.
Mayor Ken Merrifield, who started the Franklin Mayor’s Drug Task Force to fight drug abuse in the city, welcomed the news of the additional beds.
“For people in need of treatment this is fantastic news,” he said. “There’s no doubt that there is way more demand for treatment in the state than there is supply.”