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Contact: Caroline Cornish
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“Opioids in Maine: A Public Health Conversation” includes the viewing of two documentaries and practical advice about how to help people prevent and treat opioid use disorder.
PORTLAND, Maine – Visitors to the Dana Center at Maine Medical Center will be given tools to respond to opioid overdoses and steps to help prevent them, as the MaineHealth Learning Resource Center hosts “Opioids in Maine: A Public Health Conversation” at 5:30 p.m. on May 9.
The MaineHealth system has been a leader in addressing the epidemic by taking a multi-faceted approach to addressing the opioid epidemic through prevention, education and treatment. This evening is presented in partnership with Maine Behavioral Healthcare, the city of Portland Public Health Division and Maine Medical Partners in an effort to raise public awareness about the impact opioids are having in Maine and to empower participants to take action to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Kristen Silvia, M.D., of Maine Medical Partners, Debra Poulin, LCSW, C.C.S., of Maine Behavioral Healthcare and Portland Substance Use Prevention Coordinator Bridget Rauscher will explain how families can safely store and dispose of medication to prevent overdose, answer audience questions and lead a community conversation about the opioid epidemic. Dr. Silvia also will be able to write prescriptions for Narcan for family members of those struggling with opioid use disorder.
“418 of our fellow Mainers died of a drug overdose last year,” Dr. Silvia said. “This is unacceptable. It is important that we understand this illness, how it affects our community and what each of us can do to support each other in this crisis.”
The evening will begin with two documentaries that will give participants a new perspective on how Maine’s opioid epidemic affects families and communities in the state. The first, called “The Opiate Effect,” is an award-winning film that tells the story of Will Gates, a young man from Maine with a promising future who died of a heroin overdose while at college in Vermont in 2009. The filmmakers interviewed his father, Skip, then-Attorney General Eric Holder, Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont and those in recovery from opioid use disorder.
The second film is called “The Opioid Effect: Maine’s Fishing Community Battles with Heroin.” It is an inside look at how Maine’s fishing community is struggling with heroin use and why opioids have become such a challenge for fishermen in particular.
“These two films highlight how opioid use disorder deeply impacts families, friends and communities,” Poulin said. “We are all vulnerable in some way. That is why it’s so important to keep the conversations going and to continue to raise awareness.”
“Opioids in Maine: A Public Health Conversation” costs $5 to attend and you must register in advance. The Learning Resource Center offers a limited amount of scholarship funds. Visit http://LRCclasses.coursestorm.com to register or learn more.
About Maine Medical Center
Maine Medical Center (MMC), recognized as a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News and World Report for 2017-2018, is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state, as well as northern New England. Incorporated in 1868, MMC is the state’s largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing nearly 8,700 people. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class biomedical research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in northern New England. For more information, visit www.mmc.org.
About Maine Behavioral Healthcare
Maine Behavioral Healthcare (MBH) is a nonprofit organization serving more than 20,000 children, adolescents and adults at over 30 locations throughout southern, western, and mid-coast Maine, providing a continuum of coordinated mental healthcare from outpatient community offices to inpatient acute care at Spring Harbor Hospital. The Developmental Disorders Program at MBH is the only program in Maine where children with a developmental disorder, such as autism or intellectual disability, can access a continuum of treatment options. Learn more at www.mainebehavioralhealthcare.org.
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