SOS Attends the 13th Annual National Harm Reduction Conference!
SOS Staff Attends National Harm Reduction Conference 2022
From October 13th-16th seven SOS staff members traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico for the 13th National Harm Reduction Conference. Staff spent four days learning amongst our peers about the latest and greatest trends in the harm reduction space. Our team was honored to have the opportunity to take part in such an amazing event. This conference came at a time when harm reduction, health care, and drug policy reform has entered a dynamic and critical phase. The overdose crisis has captured national attention as over 109,000 preventable overdose deaths occurred in the last year. There is a renewed focus on the health of people who use drugs and the transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis. These trends are reshaping the policy and public health landscapes, making harm reduction more urgent and relevant than ever before. Our team was grateful to be amongst so many experts in the field with tons of lived experience where the framework of promoting nothing about us without us is critical to effective evidence-based solutions.
SOS Recovery awarded contract to operate
Willand Dr. Emergency Warming Center
SOS Recovery has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Strafford County for operations of the Willand Drive Emergency Warming Center in Somersworth starting November 25th, 2022 through March 31, 2023. The warming center will be opened when weather conditions warrant the opening. We have worked with and collaborated with Dr. Tory Jennison and the Tri-Cities Mayors and Emergency Management Directors on the conditions in which the warming center will be opened. We will be provided a minimum of 24 hours notice before each activation, and longer when it's possible. We have made projections based on the last few years of weather patterns that we expect to be open 70-90 nights between November 25th, 2022 and March 31st, 2023. Since New England weather is unpredictable this is only an estimate. We want to reiterate this is designed as an "emergency" warming center for extreme weather. This is not a seasonal shelter and although we recognize the needs for other housing options a seasonal shelter can result in barriers that might make access impossible for those who need the low barrier approach of this model.
SOS will be conducting at least 3 volunteer orientation trainings at the warming center between now and November 25th. We are asking that if you wish to volunteer that you please start the process on our website. The link to the page can be reached by clicking on this link: https://www.sosrco.org/what-we-do/willand-warming/ You will find we have a link to a volunteer form that allows you to fill out the application online. In an effort to maintain safety and be conscious of public health we will be requiring a variety of vaccinations including COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots for volunteers. In order to work within the warming center as a volunteer we will utilize the same requirements as those of Greater Seacoast Community Health, our parent organization. All staff, volunteers and participants will be required to mask inside the warming center when activated.
We are hiring a Warming Center Manager full-time throughout the season as well as a Warming Center Supervisor and two part-time warming center coordinators. We have a need to hire six to ten "per-diem" warming center coordinators. Please send an email and resume to John Burns at John@sosrco.org if you are interested in working in any paid staff positions. Paid "per-diem" warming center coordinators will be able to work anywhere from four to twelve hour shifts between the hours of 4pm and 10am.
When activated the warming center will open at 4pm to staff and 5pm for participants and will remain open until 9am for participants with one hour of closing and clean up from 9am-10am each morning. We will be utilizing our SOS van and another from the City of Dover to supplement COAST bus transportation from the center each morning. It will be essential that we have a number of volunteers throughout every shift of each eighteen hour overnight activations every night the center is open to help staff it so that we can maintain adequate coverage. Our focus will rely heavily on coordinating care for individuals utilizing the center in an effort to identify permanent housing solutions and meet basic life needs including medical care, mental health supports and substance use treatment and recovery supports. We will be inviting agencies that work in the region to a meeting to assist with coordinating efforts on Monday November 14th and will send invites out.
We are partnering with a number of agencies including Red's Good Vibes who will be helping us with some of the food provisions. We need volunteers to support that as well as local restaurants, supermarkets, and agencies involved in food insecurity to help with providing nutritious meals and snacks. We are going to offer training for volunteers and staff for serv-safe certifications for individuals interested in helping out with food. Community Action Partnership of Strafford County has been assisting with the transition already for us to operate the center. We have been in contact and received support and a commitment to collaborate on care coordination with the Strafford County Community Care Team and members. We also have had direct ongoing contact and discussions as we prepare with other local agencies such as Waypoint, Infinity Peer Support, the NH Harm Reduction Coalition, Wentworth Douglass Hospital, Goodwin Community Health and many others. We hope to continue the tradition of this warming center engaging the entire community and local faith based organizations to support these efforts. Efforts such as these have always been driven by the incredible support of Strafford County and we are confident we will once again set the bar in NH for a robust approach that will save lives, secure some basic needs for those most marginalized while we empower individuals and give voices to those who may not believe they have one. This warming center will be low barrier, strengths-based and engage participatory processes where those who need the services will inform us on our approach. SOS has always actively supported those we serve with the belief there should be "nothing about us, without us." We intend to incorporate that in the culture of our operations with every participant at the warming center this winter. We are grateful for this opportunity and look forward to supporting the opportunity for change, joy, and hope in the lives of those we serve.
Save the Date for our 3rd Annual RICH Conference
Tues April 4th and Wednesday April 5th, 2023.
Sheraton Harborside Conference Center in Portsmouth, NH
Come see these incredible keynote speakers that have already been secured
Contact email@example.com if you are interested in sponsoring the conference or attending as an exhibitor.
Early Bird Registrations opening soon!
Dr. Orisha Bowers, Executive Director, National Harm Reduction Coalition
Orisha A. Bowers holds a BFA, MA, MEd, PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies, a Graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies and a Certificate in Complementary Alternative Medicine. Orisha has more than 15 years of experience in social services, nonprofit leadership, grants management, program design, and civic leadership. Orisha’s life work is centered on an intentional merging of women’s studies, education, interdisciplinarity and creativity, spirituality, healing, wellness, and movement. She uses scholarship and vocation to do healing work in communities of color in reproductive health, women’s issues, and communities of faith. Orisha, an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church. She combines a spiritual focus with the therapeutic disciplines of mindfulness dancing to offer the dynamic Dancing Mindfulness and other healing practices across the U.S. Dr. Bowers is the Executive Director of the National Harm Reduction Coalition.
Dr. John Kelly
Dr. Kelly is the Elizabeth R. Spallin Professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine at Harvard Medical School – the first endowed professor in addiction medicine at Harvard. He is also the Founder and Director of the Recovery Research Institute at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Associate Director of the Center for Addiction Medicine (CAM) at MGH.
Dr. Kelly is a former President of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Society of Addiction Psychology, a founding member and inaugural President of the American Board of Addiction Psychology, a Fellow of the APA, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology. He has served as a consultant to U.S. federal agencies and non-federal institutions, as well as foreign governments, the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
Dr. Kelly has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, reviews, chapters, and books in the field of addiction medicine, and was an author on the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. He has won numerous state, national, and international lifetime achievements and distinguished scientist awards for his work.
His clinical and research endeavors have focused on addiction treatment and the recovery process, mechanisms of behavior change, and reducing stigma and discrimination among individuals suffering from addiction.
Rebekah Joab, Legal Action Center
Keynote: "Access to Health Care: Anti-Discrimination Protections for People with Substance Use Disorders."
As a Senior Staff Attorney at the Legal Action Center (LAC), Rebekah Joab advocates for individuals who have experienced discrimination because of their substance use, arrest or conviction records, and HIV or AIDS status. Rebekah works on LAC's impact litigation and direct legal services across these areas, with a particular focus on LAC’s legal and litigation strategies to increase access to medication for opioid use disorder and enforce anti-discrimination rights for people with opioid use disorder. During her time at LAC, Rebekah has litigated Finnigan v. Mendrick et. al., which challenged a jail’s ban on medication for opioid use disorder, and written amicus briefs in several cases challenging discrimination against people with substance use disorders, including Dominque Harris v. State of Ohio, Vernon Yontz II v. State of Ohio, and Clint Mueck v. LaGrange Acquisitions, L.P. In her role at LAC, Rebekah also educates and trains organizations and individuals about anti-discrimination and other laws protecting LAC's constituencies.
Before joining LAC, Rebekah was a program analyst at the DC Corrections Information Council. Rebekah earned her BA in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her JD from the Georgetown University Law Center.
SOS in the community!
Over the past month, SOS staff has been busy out and about in the community! Not only did we provide a Naloxone training to the Dover Mental Health Alliance, we also spent all of Apple Harvest Day providing resources to the community, sponsored & attended the Black Lives Matter, Seacoast's "Third Annual Black Excellence Gala," and did a presentation about Recovery Friendly Workplace to the joint City Council and School Board in Somersworth! We always love taking any opportunity to get more involved and share resources to all of our neighbors!
Naloxone Training for Dover Mental Health Alliance
Apple Harvest Day!
Sponsorship of the Third Annual Black Excellence Gala
Recovery Friendly Workplace Presentation to the City of Somersworth
Lara Drolet joined Greater Seacoast Community Health in 2009. She currently serves as both the Chief Strategy Officer for the organization as well as the Director of the Strafford County Public Health Network. Lara has an extensive background in Public Relations and has held PR management positions in both fortune 500 companies as well as world renowned PR agencies. She is an Advisory Board member for SOS Recovery Community Organization and has served on the Strafford County Addiction Taskforce since its inception. After losing a parent to addiction, she became passionate about prevention, recovery and ensuring community supports are easily accessible to families and individuals coping the many challenges of addiction. Lara has served as President of the Somersworth Chamber of Commerce, a Commissioner for the Somersworth Housing Authority, and has volunteered for numerous community committees. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Communications from Johnson & Wales University. In her free time you will find her on beaches near and far, attending live music events or helping friends and family strategize for personal and professional growth. We are so thankful for her involvement with SOS & her ongoing support of the organization!
Mark your Calendar for Giving Tuesday, November 29th!
Thanks for your donation, Discoe Beverages!
Discoe Beverages, a craft beverage maker located in the Seacoast of New Hampshire specializing in nonalcoholic cocktails, donated 480 cans of their nonalcoholic Gin Fizz to us after connecting with us at Apple Harvest Day! We are thankful to them for providing nonalcoholic cocktail options within the Seacoast & their support of our mission!
*** OUR ROCHESTER CENTER'S HOURS HAVE CHANGED***
Dover - 4 Broadway M-F 9am - 8pm
Saturday 10am - 6 pm Rochester -14 Signal Street M-F 9am - 5pm Hampton -1 Lafayette Rd, Building 1 M-F 9am - 5pm Portsmouth- (Inside Families First) 8 Greenleaf Woods Dr.
M-F 12pm-4pm (open to the public)
Please note- We will be screening for COVID.
-Masks will be required.
-There will be limited capacity and limited meetings.