Gordon Smith, the State’s new Opiod Czar, was the featured speaker at the Dignity Rally in Monument Square last Friday afternoon. He was appointed to this position by Governor Janet Mills, the first women governor in Maine.
With the sea change up in Augusta from the previous administration, Smith said it is now possible to provide important assistance to those needing it. Representing the Governor, Smith listed some of the changes that have been put in place to date.
The first is a supply of 35,000 doses of Naloxene to keep people alive. Second, treatment for addiction is now available in jails and prisons in Maine. 3. And there are more recovery coaches assigned to emergency rooms in Maine hospitals. Although his remarks were brief, they were greeted with enthusiasm in recognition of the rolling back of many of LePage’s regressive policies by Governor Mills.
Behind Mr. Smith was the Dignity Wall decorated by many describing in words and pictures what their recovery means to them said Glenn J. Simpson, LMSW-CC, CADC and Munjoy Hill resident. “Our purpose is to get out into the community and talk about this public health crisis that this country has never faced before,” he said.
“The Opioid Spoon Sculpture I made has been placed on the doorsteps of corporations and individuals whose recklessness and irresponsibility have fueled the epidemic, publicly explaining their complicity and holding them accountable for their actions,” said Domenic Esposito. The above spoon is his fourth. He is going on a tour of eleven states; Maine is the fifth state on the tour. The tour ends on June 8th in Philadelphia. His younger brother is addicted to opiods and that is his motivation for being an activist. “Opioids hijack your brain,” he said. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sarah Herbert, who grew up in Colorado, but moved to Maine recently said: “I lost my 43 year-old daughter to an overdose of Fentanyl last May. A friend gave her the drug to deal with pain before she was to have surgery. She died instantly. I don’t think I’ve begun to deal with it,” she said. (Please see above right photo of Sarah).
“The opposite of addiction is connection,” said Glenn J. Simpson.