For a little more than a year, the Downeast Treatment Center in Ellsworth has been working with area hospitals and organizations to help those with substance use disorders. Now, treatment center leaders are hoping to expand on the help being provided.
The opioid crisis affects people across the entire state and now the Downeast Treatment Center is providing more opportunity for those people seeking help.
“I don’t know if I‘d be alive,” said DTC patient Ryan Miller. “I really think this place saved my life.”
Before Miller was a patient at the center he was behind bars. Now he’s employed and in his own words, picking up the pieces of his life.
“This and the structure from the Hancock County Drug Court program really has brought me a long way in life,” he said.
Leaders at the center are now focused on removing barriers to treatment so that more people can find help.
“Through a federal grant that’s come through Healthy Acadia we’re able to pay for treatment for people who either don’t have insurance or don’t have enough insurance so that cost is no longer a barrier,” said Healthy Acadia Community Health Program Manager Penny Guisinger. “It’s no cost to services to people who would benefit from that.”
The DTC provides medication-assisted treatment, using doctor-prescribed Suboxone to fight addiction.
“It takes care of cravings, and it keeps people from going into withdrawal, and those two single issues will wreck someones life,” said DTC Clinical Advisory Committee member Dr. Julian Kuffler.
Medication-assisted treatment paired with group counseling is what’s helping get addicts on the path to recovery.
“Being here is the only time they can talk about their recovery and their struggles,” said DTC Substance Abuse Counselor Lisa Groo. “Being out in the big wide world…there’s a stigma attached”
Through customized treatment plans, expanded hours and financial assistance, DTC leaders are hoping to help even more people.