Intervention Aroostook: 3.2.2021

Intervention Aroostook
Intervention Aroostook(wagm)
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 8:01 AM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Recently, the Maine Department of Corrections announced the expansion of the

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program for residents of state correctional facilities who have opioid use disorder.

In this week’s Intervention Aroostook, Shawn Cunningham talks to the Deputy Commissioner about the effort to help incarcerated individuals overcome addiction.

The MAT or medical assisted treatment program in Maine’s correctional facilities are going a bit further to help people coping with substance use disorder. The program, which began as a pilot initiative in 2019 is expanding and the goal is come November, it will provide universal access to treatment services among incarcerated resident populations, regardless of sentence length says Maine Corrections Deputy Commissioner Ryan Thornell.

Ryan Thornell Maine State Corrections Deputy Commissioner

“it opens up the eligibility for those services to all men and women regardless of their sentence length for those that the treatment is medically necessary for...prior to this expansion we were only able to provide those services to those nearing their release with 180 days of release so this latest change ensures really the availability of this treatment.”

Shawn Cunningham NO STANDUP

Thornell says this expansion builds on the MAT program initiated through an Executive Order from Governor Mills to combat the state’s opioid epidemic.Thornell says this expansion has followed the department meeting some challenges in helping people access treatment during present day pandemic.

“we’ve had to transition services to more virtual services is really the counseling treatment component that comes with medication.”

But that’s not all. He says efforts have been stepped up to better provide continuity of care

“it aims to destigmatize substance use disorder treatment that goes along with it but its also allowed us to be more efficient in how we deliver the medication and the result of the pandemic has really pushed us to find those efficiencies.”

But he says what needs to continue and even grow are community partnerships...

“we’ve really had to strengthen our community partnerships with those providers that we use in order to make sure those services are there.”

On average, approximately 200 men and women are actively engaged with MDOC’s MAT services on any given day. Shawn Cunningham, NS 8.

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