Aroostook Community Matters: AMHC’s Uses New Grant to Create Needs Assessment to Look at the ‘Why’ Behind Substance Use

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 9:53 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Substance use deaths have increased in Aroostook County this past year. On this week’s edition of Aroostook Community Matters, Maria Trivelpiece spoke to AMHC about a grant they recently received that they hope will change these numbers.

The number of deaths from substance use has gone up over the last year. To help combat that, AMHC has received a $200,000, 18 month planning grant from the Human Resources Service Administration that allows them to do a community needs assessment and strategic plan around opioid use and substance use disorders.

The project coordinator of the grant, Erik Lamoreau, said, “It’s important to have accurate information, to engage in new services or improve services you already have, knowing the needs of what the community is looking for.”

Lamoreau said they’ve worked with local hospitals, police departments, and emergency rooms to learn which new programs will help the most. And, the sooner they can implement them, the better.

“Substance use disorder doesn’t stabilize,” he said. “It’s not just this. It’s constantly integrating into new things. If one substance isn’t around then a new substance shows up.”

What’s special about this grant is that it goes deeper into the psychological piece of substance use.

“We’re really looking at the why individuals want to use and how we can help better provide prevention programs, treatment in general and then supportive in recovery,” Lamoreau said.

He said the goal of this grant is to reduce morbidity and mortality regarding substance use and he and the rest of AMHC cannot wait until their assessment and plans are in action.

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