Clients, Staff Say Major New Hampshire Addiction Treatment Center Mishandled COVID Outbreak

The minute Peter Rosasco walked into Green Mountain Treatment Center in Effingham, he knew there would be problems.

“It was just a ticking time bomb, that place,” Rosasco said.

It was mid-November, and his mother, Susan Axelrod, was bringing Rosasco to residential treatment as part of a plea deal he reached over recent drug charges.

But when they arrived at Green Mountain, one of New Hampshire’s largest residential substance use disorder treatment facilities, both Rosasco and his mom said they noticed that the staff member doing patient intake was not wearing a mask.

“If I had not been so, sort of, just shell shocked from the day, I think I would have said, ‘Hey, can you go put a mask on?’ ” Axelrod said. “Because I thought about it later, I was like, ‘That was not good.’ ”

It felt odd, they said, especially given that Rosasco had just come from another treatment center in Maine where he was forced to quarantine upon arrival, was tested for COVID-19, and, he said, they were incredibly strict about mask usage.

But at Green Mountain, Rosasco said, he was never tested. And while there may have been a mask policy, for the two weeks he was there, he said, some people wore masks, some didn’t.

Interviews with clients, their relatives, current and former staff, and internal communications suggest Green Mountain Treatment Center failed to take basic steps to protect residents from a COVID-19 outbreak that has so far, according to state numbers, infected nearly 50 people. Complaints include a lack of social distancing in company-managed transportation and the dining area; the absence of a plan to protect clients in the event of an outbreak; and a lack of enforcement of mask-wearing among both clients and staff.

Read the rest of this story at NHPR’s website.