Like states across the country, Maine is within the crushing grip of an opioid epidemic worsened by the effects of the pandemic and the increased presence of the highly lethal drug fentanyl.
It’s harming a record number of Maine people – people who are in our communities, people who may be our neighbors and friends.
That’s why my Administration is greatly expanding the number of treatment beds across Maine, so we can save lives, put more people on the road to recovery, and turn the tide on this deadly epidemic.
Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.
Anyone who is ready to recover from substance use disorder must have access to affordable treatment.
My Administration has worked hard to expand access to affordable treatment by improving access to health insurance, by expanding services in rural communities especially, and by distributing the life-saving drug Naloxone all across the state in order to reverse potentially fatal overdoses.
For example, we have expanded health care coverage, allowing more than 25,000 individuals to receive treatment for substance use disorder through MaineCare.
We have placed response teams in every Maine county through our OPTIONS program, connecting people to recovery and treatment programs.
We have distributed more than 324,000 doses of Naloxone, and those doses have been used already to reverse nearly 8,000 nearly fatal overdoses.
And we are focusing every day on prevention, very importantly creating curricula and activities to stop people from taking dangerous drugs in the first place.
And we have recruited and trained over 1,000 recovery coaches.
These actions, and other steps we have taken, have improved treatment options for people in need.
Last week, I announced that Maine will further increase the number of residential treatment and detox beds by nearly 40 percent.
We awarded $6 million in state funding to treatment providers to create 140 new residential treatment beds.
More than 70 of these new beds are already available or will be available within weeks, and the remainder are expected to become available by the end of this year.
These new beds, which will be located in Portland, Auburn, Windham, Bangor, and Presque Isle, bring the total number of substance use disorder treatment beds created by my administration so far to nearly 300.
I am proud of the progress we have made to expand treatment in Maine, but we can and must do more.
So, my Administration is making another $2.3 million available to create new or expanded beds in rural areas, and beds for adolescents. Eligible providers may apply through June 23rd – that’s next Friday – for funds.
There’s no simple solution to ending the opioid epidemic, but my Administration is fully committed to supporting law enforcement efforts to keep these deadly drugs off our streets and out of our communities, and to invest in early intervention programs and prevention programs, and to expanding treatment beds, including residential beds, until every person who is struggling with substance use disorder can find the services they need to recover.
For our family members, friends, neighbors — those who have lost their lives, those who are struggling right now with substance use disorder — we continue our work to save lives and to stop this deadly epidemic from further ravaging our state.
We need every person in this state to be productive, fully engaged people in our economy, in our family lives, in our communities. If you or a loved one or someone you know needs help, please call 2-1-1 for services available.
This is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.