“Listening is what we can do mostly. Sometimes that’s enough because a lot of times these people are ignored because they are marginalized. Nobody sees them. They are invisible,” said Matt Brown, a Recovery Coach at the Portland Recovery Community Center.
Brown was managing a table at the International Overdose Awareness Day event at Congress Square Park this afternoon along with Danielle M. Both are employed at the Portland Recovery Community Center.
Eight individuals took advantage of the open mic to tell their inspiring stories of addiction and recovery to a group enjoying a sunny and pleasant afternoon in the Park in between the stories of struggles and hope. One of those telling her story was Danielle. M.
After high school, Danielle became addicted to opioids. She was hooked on pills that she was able to get from others. “I didn’t have a life. And I was pregnant too. I didn’t have a career either The pills took it from me, ” she said. “But after all I have been through, I have a career now. It’s as a Recovery Coach at the Portland Recovery Community Center.”
“I’ve never seen the opioid crisis as bad as it is in Maine. I lost two friends here recently,” said an emotional Casey as he was another speaker using the mic to get his message across. Casey has lived in multiple cities across the US – from San Diego, CA. to Portland, ME. He cautioned everyone not to be so judgmental. “It’s real. It’s an epidemic,” he said passionately. He emphasized that Portland and Maine particularly are lacking in resources to help people struggling with addictions.
Almost as if in response to Casey’s concerns, Governor Janet T. Mills (D), the first woman Governor of Maine, announced today that her Administration is stepping up efforts to combat Maine’s opioid epidemic, That incudes significantly increasing reimbursement for residential substance use disorder treatment, granting new funds for a recovery program serving eight Maine counties and extending a key employment program for Maine people affected by the opioid crisis.
Last month, 52 Maine people are believed to have died from a drug overdose, while 835 others are known to have survived an overdose according to the Governor’s press release.
“Our state is diminished every time we lose a person to a drug overdose and my heart breaks for their friends, family and community,” said Governor Mills. “I want every person in Maine to have the opportunity to live a happy and healthy life and to contribute to the success of our state. With drug overdose deaths reaching record levels as a result of the pandemic and the increased presence of fetanyl, our Administration is doing whatever we can to prevent drug use, support recovery and save lives. On this Overdose Awareness Day, let us honor the memories of those we have lost by redoubling our efforts to save others.”
For more information on the Portland Recovery Community Center, 102 Bishop Street, Portland, please call 207 – 553-2575 or go to email@example.com. Also you may visit: www.portlandrecovery.org for more information.