Mills Administration also invites providers to apply for new funding to further expand treatment capacity serving rural Maine and adolescents
Governor Janet Mills announced today that 140 new residential treatment beds for substance use disorder (SUD) will be created across the state, an increase of nearly 40 percent supported by $6 million in funding awarded by her Administration.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) has awarded funding to six providers for renovation, capital and startup costs related to new or expanded beds for residential SUD treatment and medically supervised withdrawal (detoxification). The projects are at various stages of development, with more than 70 new beds already online or coming online within weeks, and the remainder expected to come online by the end of the year.
The combined $6 million in awards support the following projects:
- Soul Sanctuary: 78 new beds across five locations in Portland
- Pine Tree Recovery: 20 new beds in Portland
- Milestone Recovery: 14 additional beds at a new facility in Portland
- Catholic Charities: 12 new beds in Auburn
- Day One: 6 new beds in Windham
- Wabanaki Public Health: 6 new beds in Bangor
- Aroostook Mental Health Services: 4 new beds in Presque Isle
These projects significantly expand services that are critical to SUD recovery. The new beds are in addition to the 387 licensed beds for substance use disorder and medically supervised withdrawal currently in operation. Maine added more than 140 new beds from 2021 to 2022. Altogether, more than 280 new beds have been created under the Mills Administration, more than doubling capacity – despite the challenges and increased demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To further improve SUD treatment capacity, the Governor announced in her State of the Budget Address earlier this year a second round of grants. DHHS has invited providers to apply for state funding totaling $2.3 million to create new or expanded beds in rural areas where SUD services are limited and to serve adolescent populations in Maine. Eligible providers may apply through June 23, 2023.
“Maine is within the crushing grip of the opioid epidemic, worsened by the effects of the pandemic and the increased presence of highly lethal fentanyl. It’s killing a record number of Maine people – people who are our families, friends, and neighbors,” said Governor Janet Mills. “This funding through my Administration will significantly expand the availability of treatment beds across Maine so that we can save lives, put more people on the road to recovery, and, in time, turn the tide on this deadly epidemic.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic compounded the challenge of addressing substance use disorders in Maine,” said Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “These projects, along with the new funding announced today to further strengthen the system, will help to save lives and support Maine people pursuing recovery.”
“Expanding the availability of substance use disorder treatment is a pillar of Governor Mills’ Opioid Response Strategic Plan,” said Gordon Smith, Director of Opioid Response. “Having the appropriate treatment available when an individual is ready to seek recovery is essential to improving our opioid response. The additional beds becoming available through these initiatives will be a welcome sight in various locations across the state.”
“This grant will be a game changer, allowing us to serve more Maine people along their path to recovery,” said Tom Doherty, Milestone Recovery Executive Director. “We're deeply grateful for the State's support and partnership in expanding care for low-income Mainers.”
“The biggest obstacle Maine faces in tackling rising addiction cases is the availability of and access to treatment services,” said Kerry MacDonald, Executive Director, Pine Tree Recovery Center. “Pine Tree Recovery Center’s partnership with the State of Maine to expand residential treatment beds for SUD will help remove barriers and allow more Mainers access to top-tier treatment and quality care. This grant will help us create 20 new residential beds for individuals with SUD that may not otherwise have been able to receive help.”
“Without the assistance that was offered through the expansion award, we would not have been able to implement the structural changes which allowed us to open our doors and provide treatment, support, and resources to a vulnerable, underserved population struggling with substance use disorders,” said Sarah Coupe, Executive Director, Soul Sanctuary.“The amount of assistance and support we have received in helping us through this process has been incredible.”
“Aroostook Mental Health Services has been operating a 12-bed residential treatment facility for nearly 50 years,” said Ellen Bemis, Aroostook Mental Health Services CEO. “The facility will expand its bed capacity by 25 percent when it moves to a new location this fall. The State of Maine was instrumental in providing the resources required to add more treatment beds in Aroostook County.”
“This funding provided by the Department of Health of Human Services will allow Day One to restore SUD treatment for adolescent girls at a time when these services are needed most,” said Greg Bowers, CEO of Day One. “We look forward to partnering with the Department to bring these beds fully online later this summer.”
“As addiction continues to devastate people and families in Maine, St. Francis Recovery Center has worked to add additional bed space to provide critical help to those struggling with substance use disorders,” said Tom Farrington, Program Director of St. Francis Recovery Center. “We are grateful for the support and assistance the State and others have provided to make this expansion a reality.”
These grant awards advance Maine’s Opioid Response Strategic Action Plan (PDF), which prioritizes the availability of treatment that is local, immediate, affordable, and the best fit for the individual.
Under Governor Mills, Maine has improved SUD treatment capacity by:
- Providing health insurance coverage through MaineCare expansion to over 100,000 Mainers with over 25,000 individuals receiving treatment for substance use;
- Increasing the purchase and distribution of naloxone in communities across Maine in response to increased numbers of overdoses. Since 2019, the Mills Administration has distributed more than 324,755 doses of naloxone, which has been used to reverse over 7,998 overdoses that may have otherwise been fatal;
- Substantially increasing rates for providers of residential SUD treatment, including an increase implemented in 2020/2021 of 77 percent for medically supervised withdrawal services;
- Supporting health providers in offering medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD), with 1,035 providers who wrote at least one prescription for an MOUD medication in 2022, an increase of 289 or 39 percent since 2019. In 2023, 676 prescribers wrote at least one prescription for an MOUD medication, compared to 517 by mid-2022, a 31 percent increase.
- Doubling liaisons in the OPTIONS program, which has placed response teams in each Maine county to engage with individuals to promote drug prevention and harm reduction strategies, connect people to recovery and treatment, and distribute naloxone;
- Vastly expanding team-based treatment of opioid use disorder for eligible MaineCare members and uninsured individuals through Opioid Health Homes, from 19 service locations serving 781 individuals a month at the beginning of 2019, to 113 locations serving 4,656 individuals a month in May 2023. The number of members served has increased over 1,400 a month in just the past year as MaineCare adapted its model in August 2022 to also serve individuals receiving methadone and those at a medication-only level of care;
- In 2022, expanding Maine’s “Good Samaritan” law, first signed by Governor Mills in 2019, which encourages individuals to call for life-saving assistance when someone at their location is experiencing an overdose;
- Recruiting and training of over 1,000 recovery coaches; and
- Providing funding for medically monitored withdrawal beds through OBH to support room and board and other costs not covered by MaineCare.
Strengthening treatment capacity is part of the Mills Administration’s commitment to ensuring that Maine people with substance use disorders have access to a full array of services, from prevention and early intervention to medically supervised withdrawal, treatment and recovery.The Governor’s budget proposal for the 2024-2025 biennium, along with the change package, included an historic $267 million for behavioral health services and payment rate increases, adding to the $230 million invested in behavioral health services in the 2022-2023 biennium.
On July 20, Governor Mills will host her 5th Annual Opioid Response Summit at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. The governor’s annual summit, part of the State’s commitment to fighting the opioid epidemic, convenes leaders from around Maine and the nation to share ideas, strategies, and best practices to help Maine people. For more information about the summit, please visit its website.
For information about substance use disorder support and resources, call 211, text your zip code to 898-211, email info@211Maine.org, visit the Maine 211 website, or visit the website of the OPTIONS program at http://www.knowyouroptions.me.