Advocates, Champions Recognized at New Futures Event

New Futures celebrated another successful year by recognizing champions for progressive drug and alcohol policy in New Hampshire. Advocates, families, partners, and even representatives gathered to eat hors d’oeuvres and honor those who work to reduce drug and alcohol problems.

Keynote speaker A. Kathryn Power, the Region 1 director for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, powerfully spoke on stigma revolving around mental health and alcohol and drug misuse.

Linda Saunders Paquette, the executive director of New Futures, welcomed Senator Ann Kuster to say a few words. Senator Kuster spoke about the economic downfall alcohol and drug misuse has on the state of New Hampshire.

Paquette began the award portion of the ceremony by recognizing Governor Maggie Hassan with the Executive Director Award for her work over the last year to expand Medicaid. Gov. Hassan spoke about her roots in advocacy for her disabled son Ben, and said how “all the advocates that came before the Hassans,” were the ones that paved the way for her son to receive the education he deserved. Gov. Hassan also spoke about community, and how people of NH can join forces to accomplish impressive tasks and find solutions

Next to receive recognition was Senator Nancy Stiles, who received the Legislature of the Year Award for her work benefitting NH residents. Senator Stiles is in her second term in the NH State Senate and comes from an extensive background in education and nutrition.

The Youth in Action Award was given to Merrimack High School Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). Over the past year, Merrimack’s SADD program ran a mock DUI in collaboration with local businesses and Merrimack Police and Fire departments, and sent two seniors to speak at a legislative committee about the hidden dangers of loosening restrictions in place about alcohol advertising on billboards. Merrimack SADD was specifically commemorated in late arrival Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s speech for dedication to reducing drug and alcohol problems in NH.

Ed Rajsteter of Friends of Grafton Drug Court and Headrest, was recognized with the Advocacy In Action - Individual Award. Rajsteter worked relentlessly since his retirement where he started his mission for drug and alcohol advocacy as a mentor at the Grafton County Corrections Facility. Now he is Executive Director at the Friends of Grafton County Drug Court and Headrest providing methods of recovery for those in trouble with the law and those seeking the help that they need.

The Advocacy In Action - Organization Award was given to the Business and Industry Association. Over the past year, they contributed support to address the economic consequences of drug and alcohol misuse.

Kimberley Haas of Foster’s Daily Democrat was recognized with the Excellence in Media Award for her extraordinary coverage. Her ability to find the underlying story revolving around addiction and recovery allowed her to inform readers.

The Nicholas Halias Law Enforcement Award was presented to Colonel Robert Quinn of the NH State Police. The award is in honor of the late Major Nick Halias, a state trooper for more than 30 years and former UNH Chief of police. Halias passed away earlier this year. He had an extensive career in civic service and was known to be a friend to the community.

Col. Robert Quinn is the Division Director with the State Police Department and oversees a tremendous amount of their day to day operations. Paquette commemorated Col. Quinn by commenting on his commitment for stronger policy in NH. On the day he testified for Medicaid Expansion, he was at a fatal crash scene hours before he was due to talk in Concord

The Tom Fox Award for Excellence was presented to Dr. Seddon Savage of Dartmouth. Dr. Savage is a clinician, educator, and advocate for drug and alcohol disorder treatment. She currently chairs the Task Force on Prescription Medicine Abuse.

The Tom Fox Scholarship - Prevention was awarded to Liz Hennig for her prevention work in Sullivan County. Over the past few years, Sullivan County saw a spike in heroin and opiate use as well as the crimes associated with those trying to fund their addiction. Hennig hosted community discussions and did everything in her power to provide easier access to those seeking help for addiction.

The Tom Fox Scholarship - Treatment was presented to Lori Magoon for her outstanding work. Magoon is involved in alcohol and drug treatment in the Granite State as the President Elect of New Hampshire Drug and Alcohol Counselors Association.

The final award of the night was the Madeline Demeule Scholarship - Recovery presented to Hope for New Hampshire Recovery. Hope for New Hampshire Recovery raises awareness about recovery and the service available. For people in long-term recovery, HOPE offers a support system and hold events throughout the year. They recently held a successful recovery rally on the Statehouse lawn in which almost 500 people were in attendance.

We also asked guests: What can we do, together, to reduce drug and alcohol problems in New Hampshire?

Your contribution to New Futures will leave a lasting impact in the Granite State!


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