A Jaffrey nonprofit dedicated to helping those impacted by drug and alcohol addiction has purchased a new space, one that will allow for increased services and offerings in the region.
The 17 Turnpike Road location will serve as a recovery community center, Reality Check founder and CEO Mary Drew said Thursday. The center will offer prevention services, treatment referrals, recovery support, and trainings to help build the state’s addiction workforce.
“It’s really amazing when you think about it. I don’t view myself as the person who made this happen, it was a variety of different sources that came together,” Drew said, in an interview Thursday. “This has been my vision for about ten years, so to see it come to fruition – I’m still a little bit in shock, but really ecstatic to be able to offer these services to my own community.”
Reality Check has had an office presence in town since 2016 – most recently on Knight Street – though the nonprofit was founded in 2009, Drew said. Prior to 2016, Reality Check meetings had been held in her kitchen.
The purchase of the property was made possible by two donations, $30,000 from the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative of New Hampshire (RALI) and $20,000 from Jaffrey resident Luann Lafreniere and her fiance Robert Sourek.
It has been Lafreniere’s “true desire” to open a recovery home for some time now, an inspiration derived from her son’s path to recovery and knowing the need for more services.
Lafreniere donated the money to Reality Check after looking at the 17 Turnpike Road property as a potential recovery home and hearing that Drew was also looking at it.
“We decided this would be a good place to put some resources into for now, until I’m hopefully able to open a recovery house – hopefully in this area,” Lafreniere said. “… I think Reality Check has great contacts and resources and networks that are useful for anybody… she’s got it all. It’s a huge battle and a huge undertaking, it takes a village plus.”
Drew said the $50,000 in donations was used as a down payment for the $219,000 property. Two rental units will help to pay for the mortgage, Drew said.
The new, larger space will allow for a number of new opportunities for Reality Check, including being able to offer support groups and activities, recovery yoga, employment support, and recovery-based trainings including mental health. Veteran services, academic coaching, and offering Chinese herbal and holistic alternatives to opiates are also being worked on, Drew said.
“This will allow us to focus a little more on recovery and help those folks that lost children or loved ones to addiction, who are raising grandchildren due to parental addiction, and to prevent youth from starting at all,” Drew said, during a dedication ceremony held Thursday.
Local and state representatives were at the ceremony, including the Governor’s Advisor on Addiction and Behavioral Health David Mara.
“A place like this in the community provides resources that are not readily available in this area,” the Drug Czar said. “This facility is such a great setting for people suffering from addiction and for people who need help with treatment and recovery. They can come here and they don’t have to travel to another part of the state.”
Due to the largely rural nature of the state, Mara said many communities suffer from a lack of addiction, treatment, and recovery services. Reality Check’s new location and expansion helps to fill a critical gap in the state, he said.
“This is people stepping up and creating something that wasn’t here,” Mara said. “There are other great programs across the state but this is the only one within several miles.”
This year, the state may see it’s first decrease in drug overdose deaths since 2012. Mara said Thursday the state could see a double digit percentage drop from last year’s 488 deaths.
“If there is enough of this happening – if every town and city does what is happening right now in Jaffrey – we are going to go a long way to getting people out of the throws of addiction, getting them out of hospitals, not having them go to cemeteries,” Mara said.
Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.