What is the opioid crisis in Maine?
The amount of heroin & fentanyl needed to overdose…
It takes so little! Every year more than 400 people die from an overdose in Maine. In 2016 Maine was in the top ten states of rates of opiate overdose. Most opiate street drugs sold in Maine are cut with fentanyl, a potent synthetic that contributes significantly to OD rates. Many people addicted to opiates got started on the drug as a result of a prescription after surgery or back injury. A Health Equity Alliance worker in Bangor told me recently that senior citizens are the fastest growing category of overdose victims.
How are we helping?
The State of Maine has reached out to providers to ask us to create Opioid Health Homes to support MaineCare members with prescriptions for suboxone and treatment for sobriety. They also have offered a generous amount of free care of uninsured clients to help them get the services they need. We have put together a passionate and caring team of professionals to help fight this opioid battle here in the state and as of January 2019 we are offering services throughout Maine.
We are lucky to have such an experienced OHH team put together:
- Richard Entel joins us to assess, treat and prescribe medication for our clients
- Sarah Kemp, a Home Health RN, is helping our OHH clients with nursing support and referrals
- Soon, Jasmin Pike, a recovery advocate and peer coach will be joining our team as the Peer Recovery Support Worker for our team. She has years of recovery training and experience in the mid-coast
- Four of our clinical staff, Tamzyn Palmer, Karen Hansen, Paul Dunton and Katherine McCabe will offer counseling both individually and via telehealth. We will also offer groups, family counseling and psychoeducational services to our clients.
Internally we’ve had our dynamic administrative staff Jess King & Melissa Hodgdon (both Behavioral Health Coordinators) and Vicki Brichetto (Program Manager) help us get up and running. We are continuing to expand our teams to better support our growing programs and demands.
This new program, in conjunction with our existing programs, will provide the much-needed assistance to many community members who are struggling with their sobriety. Addiction does not discriminate and is not something to be ashamed of. It is our job as a support to be a welcoming, safe space for people to receive treatment. We look forward to partnering with those in the community to help save lives.