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Sen. Jeanne Shaheen highlights Rochester recovery center during White House summit

Hope on Haven Hill is a home and outpatient center for moms and their families to start anew

MANCHESTER, N.H. — September is National Recovery Month, and New Hampshire lawmakers are helping lead the way in the fight against drugs on a national stage.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, was one of the first speakers to open the summit on Wednesday.

She talked about one of her visits to this center, Hope on Haven Hill in Rochester and how its holistic approach to recovery is proving to be crucial in this fight.

"It’s hard, it's been really hard. We've been hit hard,” said Kerry Norton, executive director of Hope on Haven Hill.

Norton knows the reality of addiction all too well.

She’s a former nurse, caring for expecting moms struggling with addiction. She is a mother herself who helped her son in his recovery and learned its sad reality.

“It seemed like everybody was expecting women to ask for help and when they asked for help, there wasn't help available,” Norton said.

Norton launched Hope on Haven Hill, a home and outpatient center for moms and their families to start anew.

“They are able to get residential treatment, care with their babies,” Norton said.

The center is getting attention on the national stage at a White House summit.

“The women who are running this facility realized very early on that no amount of medication-assisted treatment could cure unstable housing, abusive households or hunger,” Shaheen said.

The approach goes beyond medication and provides women hope for a better life.

“If you're not in a safe place, it's really hard to be healthy and safe, so women deserve the opportunities to thrive and be safe for themselves and for their children,” Norton said.

The facility has helped more than 800 women since it opened in 2016, with plans to continue its mission in the years to come.

“Recovery is possible, and there's hope out there,” Norton said.

Shaheen said the pandemic changed the trajectory of opioid numbers, and during and after it, they started to go back up.

She said while some of the focus needs to be placed on lowering overdose deaths, overall recovery strategies are important, too.