North Country ‘Speaks Up’ against stigma of addiction with panel event

LITTLETON — Last month the Health Improvement Working Group of the North Country Health Consortium convened at Speak Up NH: Changing the way we talk about addiction in the North Country. This panel event gathered North Country community members ranging from addiction and health and human services workers, high school students, and individuals in long-term recovery, to address the issue of social stigmas faced by individuals with an addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

The two-hour event featured a lineup of local experts, including: Ammonoosuc Community Health Services’ Director of Integrated Behavioral Health, Stephen Noyes, LICSW; Hope for New Hampshire Recovery’s Director of Recovery Development, Bernadette Gleeson, along with Manager of Hope’s Berlin Recovery Community Center, Doris Enman, M.Ed.; and Black Crow Project Co-founder and Groveton Student Assistant Counselor, Erik Becker. Through the course of the evening’s presentations and concluding questions and answers section, each speaker shed light on relevant topics spanning: what makes addiction a disease; the concept of raising the “recovery capital” of addicted individuals; the weight of words and reactions to people when it comes to perpetuating stigma; and what it means to recover as a community.

The Changing the way we talk about addiction in the North Country panel event piggybacks on the statewide campaign, Speak Up N.H., an initiative of Partners for a Drug-free New Hampshire. The Speak Up N.H. campaign, which launched in February at the Executive Council Chambers in Concord with the support of Governor Sununu, is a rallying cry to the people of New Hampshire to change the conversation around addiction in order to create a more supportive and inclusive environment that presents individuals with fewer roadblocks to recovery.

Host of the Health Improvement Working Group, the North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health agency based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers in northern New Hampshire. To learn more about NCHC, go to www.nchcnh.org

Speak Up NH panel PRNancy Frank, executive director of the North Country Health Consortium, welcomes community members and introduces panelists Stephen Noyes of Ammonoosuc Community Health Services; Erik Becker of Black Crow Project; and Bernadette Gleeson and Doris Enman of Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, at the Speak Up N.H., panel event at the Littleton Opera House. (COURTESY PHOTO)