AUGUSTA – Members of the healthcare community from all across the state gathered in Augusta Monday to help pick away at the problems of the opioid epidemic.
The main message: reduce the number of opiate addicts, but also to focus on successful treatment programs to provide better outcomes.
DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew stated “Monday’s conference brought together nearly 400 drug counselors, pain management doctors, nurses and public health administrators. Many of those are fighting the drug war on the front line.”
Certain parts of it are really getting worse. So you can see, year by year, more people are dying. But it’s also more people are able to get into treatment as well.
Victor Dumais of Grace Street Services added “The state legislature recently approved additional funding for addiction recovery treatment. Medication assisted treatment seems to be the current focus.”
Mayhew stated “We have supported new models of care. And have plans to implement the opiate health home.”
At least one of those who deals with recovering addicts on a daily basis is a strong supporter of medicine-based treatment.
“Particularly, because it’s really difficult to get somebody involved in treatment if you’re going to say, okay, you have to stop all your drugs right now. It doesn’t work.” said Dumais.
One national organization has ranked Maine among the top five states in its efforts to attack the opioid crisis.