“Studies show that a significant portion of the people who have died in drug overdoses in the state were recently released from a correctional setting with no tolerance, And use and overdose,” said John Fitzgerald, a licensed drug and alcohol counselor who works for Volunteers of America of Northern New England.
The Maine RecoveryCorps Program is designed to help exiting inmates in recovery stay on the straight and narrow by providing a personal support system, through a recovery coach.
“I've been in long term recovery and since that time, just seeing the habit reeked on the community is really – it's bad,” said Megan Colcord, a recovery coach for Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center. “I want to do my part and put it back out there and hopefully help some people get their life back. It can be a very lonely journey so I think this is a great initiative we're going to start doing in Maine.”
Colcord is one of three recovery coaches in Belfast.
“It's actually Healthy Acadia, who applied for a grant with AmeriCorps to implement recovery coaches in five counties, and we contacted Healthy Acadia to bring that component into Waldo County,” said Robyn Goff, program manager for Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center.
Experiences at the reentry center and studies have shown that peer support programs work.
“They've walked the walk and they are able to support through that time of recovery,” said Sgt. Ray Porter, Waldo County Sheriff's Office corrections administrator.
Other Waldo County initiatives include medicated assisted recovery, and adding a counselor for Waldo County residents at Two Bridges Regional Jail -- all made possible through community partnerships.
“Here at the county we've been doing a lot of work around the opioid crisis,” said Deputy Chief Jason Trundy. “This seemed to be the perfect fit to get that element into our programming to reach out into the community. That was one of the pieces that we were missing.”
“That's the whole goal – get people healthy,” Trundy added later.
Americorps wants an additional 20 recovery coaches for Waldo County and they are holding a training starting on March 12.
Folks interested in the training can contact Sandie Dubay at Healthy Acadia at 207-667-7171 or by visiting healthyacadia.org.