News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, October 4, 2018
Panel discussion on opiate addiction, recovery scheduled in Deer Isle

Opiate-Free Island Partnership will sponsor a panel discussion at the Reach Performing Arts Center in Deer Isle, Thursday, October 18, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., titled “Navigating a Path to Opiate Treatment and Recovery.” According to a news release, the event is aimed at informing the public about treatment options for opioid use disorders and local programs available to support them in recovery.

Over the past year, healthcare providers including doctors, hospitals, and treatment centers, along with social service agencies and nonprofit organizations such as Healthy Acadia and Opiate-Free Island Partnership, have been working to coordinate treatment and recovery options for residents of Hancock County. The event will highlight a new menu of options available to Island residents. Attendees will leave with information sheets and contact information for providers, to help them begin navigating a way out of addiction.

The panel will include representatives from programs covering a range of options, including medically-assisted and abstinence-preferred. Counselors and coaches who provide support through recovery, and individuals who are in recovery will be on the panel.

One of the newest developments in treatment options is a delivery model known as the “hub and spoke.” The “hub” in this model is the Downeast Treatment Center in Ellsworth, which opened in April. The Center delivers intensive medically-assisted treatment to those in the beginning stages of recovery. Once a patient has stabilized, a provider at a local primary care practice (a “spoke”) can continue with less-intensive treatment.

Dr. Michael Murnik, Chief Medical Officer for Northern Light Blue Hill, will discuss the hub and spoke method for delivering treatment. Also on the panel will be Joan Piskura, substance abuse counselor and clinic coordinator for Groups, Inc, a for-profit provider of medically-assisted treatment services in Ellsworth; Sue Drake and Courtney Evans, licensed counselors for the methadone program at Acadia Hospital; and Jessica Oakes, substance abuse and mental health counselor at Open Door Recovery Center in Ellsworth and counselor in the DI-S schools.

In addition to treatment options, the panel will offer information on recovery support programs available to Island residents. One of those services is a growing team of volunteer “recovery coaches” on the Island, who are under the supervision of Debra Matteson, a Recovery Coach Coordinator for Healthy Acadia. The recovery coach program on the Island was launched in March and is funded by OFIP. Maryann Ogonowski, licensed substance abuse counselor, will discuss the role of longterm counseling, and the new Friends and Family support group which she facilitates on the Island.