Substance Misuse

Substance Misuse Prevention

In 2007, the State of New Hampshire launched a progressive Regional Network System for alcohol and drug misuse prevention. The Greater Nashua Prevention Network, also known as Beyond Influence, was created through this statewide initiative to deliver comprehensive, multi-level, data driven, community based prevention to the Greater Nashua Pubic Health Region (GNPHR). 

Get Involved! Local Coalition Prevention Websites:

Beyond Influence

BeyondI-logo (2)Beyond Influence believes that by promoting healthy choices and habits while simultaneously dispelling the common misconceptions surrounding drinking, smoking and substance use, we, as a community, will provide our population with the tools necessary to say ‘no’ and avoid the numerous pitfalls and dangers associated with substance use.

Beyond Influence seeks to create an environment where all youth and young adults receive support from their families, social networks and communities to achieve their maximum potential. We serve and support the New Hampshire communities of Amherst, Brookline, Hollis, Hudson, Litchfield, Lyndeborough, Mason, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon, Nashua, Pelham, and Wilton. 

By engaging community members in a coordinated effort to promote behaviors that measurably improve the health and well being of our youth and young adults, Beyond Influence seeks to prevent the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug and substances. Beyond Influence seeks the participation of individuals, organizations, businesses, schools, legal system representatives, teens, young adults and their families in a concerted effort to dispel misconceptions surrounding substance abuse and promote positive social norms among youth. Get involved and stay connected by following Beyond Influence on Facebook.

Prevention Presentations

  • Prevention at Home: The objective of this presentation is to understand that substance misuse prevention starts at the home and give tools to discuss substance misuse at different ages in order to promote communication and keep children safe. This presentation is given in separate sessions focusing on diverse age groups including prenatal to 5 year olds, 6 to 12 year olds, and teens and young adults.
  • Substance Use Disorder and Language: The objectives include understanding how the brain is impacted by substance use and learning the difference between helpful and unhelpful language regarding substance use disorders.
  • Drug-Free Workplace Policy: The objectives include understanding the financial toll that substance use has on the workplace, how to establish policies that support a drug-free workplace and support employees in recovery.
  • Prevention in Parental Support Services: The objectives include understanding substance use disorder and supporting children's substance misuse from a parental support role. 

Photovoice Project

Every year, Beyond Influence hosts a summer photography project for middle school aged youth in the GNPHR to promote positive behaviors. This project, known as Photovoice, is a program used worldwide that allows individuals to explore important topics within a community and express themselves through photography by breaking past communication barriers that often prevent them from expressing their concerns. Photovoice has been used in Nashua for several years by the Nashua Police Athletic League and its youth members. With support from the City of Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services, Photovoice has expanded to the GNPHR to include the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua, the Boys and Girls Club of Souhegan Valley, and Nashua 21st Century. We hope to continue expanding the program within the GNPHR in the coming years.

The goals of this project are multiple; to enable youth participants to record and reflect their community’s strengths and concerns, to promote critical dialogue and knowledge about personal and community issues within the chosen topic through large and small group discussions, and to provide visual representation(s) of community experience and problems within the Public Health context, while engaging policymakers and stakeholders. This project truly is what Substance Misuse Prevention looks like, as it focuses on building up healthy, successful youth that in turn create healthy and successful communities.

See below the final projects from the 2019 Greater Nashua Photovoice Project created by youth, focused on the theme "Community is Here,", empowering youth to use photography to display their community as they see it. 

Substance Use Disorder Continuum of Care 

The Substance Use Disorder Continuum of Care (SUDCoC) represents the ideal integrated framework that covers Prevention, Promotion, Intervention, Treatment and Recovery. This framework is based on the Resiliency and Recovery Oriented System of Care model which depicts synergy, collaboration, and communication with key stakeholders within the GNPHR. It “encourages communities to support resiliency and recovery and to lay the foundation for public health regions to begin to address the gaps in the continuum over time” (Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS), 2016).  Whole-person and whole-community support is vital for the SUDCoC’s success in promoting health, preventing the misuse of substance and overdoses, assuring access to patient-centered and individualized  treatment, and helping those suffering from Substance Use Disorder (SUD) achieve supported, long term recovery.

Substance Misuse Continuum of Care Facilitator 

Throughout this public health crisis New Hampshire has seen a significant rise in substance use, followed by an increase in demand for SUD services. This increase in demand for services exposed major gaps and barriers within the network of services and the SUDCoC. In response to identifying and acknowledging these gaps in access, BDAS created a position with the main commitment to “developing comprehensive, effective, and accessible continuum of care in every region of the state that includes prevention identification and early intervention, treatment, and recovery supports, and integrated with primary and behavioral health” (BDAS, 2016).COC

Every public health region in New Hampshire now has a SUDCoC Facilitator. In addition to engaging and networking within the region, the SUDCoC Facilitator is tasked with increasing awareness and access to services, increasing communication and collaboration among regional partners, and building capacity and delivery of services within the region.

SUDCoC Presentations

  • Naloxone/Narcan Training: The objective of this trainings is to learn the signs of an overdose and how to administer Naloxone/Narcan. 
  • Talking 'Bout My Generation: The objective of this presentation is to discuss and gain an understanding of SUD in NH focused on 18-25 year olds (who compost the largest demographics of substance misuse in NH).
  • Harm Reduction and Syringe Service Presentation: Explains harm reduction in the context of SUD, the services that are considered Harm Reduction, and the benefits of a syringe service program. 
  • SUD Assessments for Adolescents: Focuses on the most common forms of assessments available for adolescents and the settings they are used in.

Access to Services

If you are looking for access to Mental Health, Behavioral Health, or SUD services in the GNPHR, please visit the Community Connections Guide to Recovery.

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Contact Information

Patty Crooker, Public Health Network Services Coordinator

Email: CrookerP@NashuaNH.gov Phone: 603-589-4507

Lisa Vasquez, Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator 

Email: Vasquezl@nashuanh.gov Phone: 603-589-4538