BANGOR – Penobscot Community Health Care, the largest federally qualified health center in Maine, has been awarded a $1 million grant with the purpose of combating the opioid crisis in Waldo County, according to a media report shared by Waldo County Sheriff Chief Deputy Jason Trundy.
The Rural Communities Opioid Response Program Implementation Grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration and will involve the work of community partners to implement a set of prevention, treatment, and recovery activities over a three-year project period.
“We continue to lose more than a person a day due to overdose deaths, and Maine has a very high rate of opioid use disorder,” said Lori Dwyer, President and CEO of PCHC, in the release.
“It is imperative that we have the tools and resources to combat this crisis head-on. With this grant, community partners in Waldo County will be able to work with PCHC’s Seaport Community Health Center in Belfast on prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts, to continue to work toward a healthier population.”
The grant will be used to fund activities in Waldo County including community and provider education, anti-stigma and informative events, expansion of the medication-assisted treatment program in PCHC’s Winterport practice, and implementing a rapid-access low-barrier “bridge clinic” model in PCHC’s Belfast practice.
Waldo County is one of the hardest-hit regions by the opioid crisis, having been listed as one of the top 220 counties in the nation vulnerable to the rapid spread of HIV associated with injection drug use. In total, Maine lost 424 residents to drug overdoses in 2017.
“PCHC will be working with the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center, Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast, Volunteers of America Northern New England, and Maine Health and Waldo County General Hospital as members of the consortium,” Dwyer said. “They are dedicated professionals who care about this community and have the knowledge, desire, and expertise to make a sizable difference in this area.”
The funds and activities will allow the consortium organizations to expand capacity for a variety of support services including transportation, childcare, housing assistance, prescription assistance, public health nursing and more.
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,000,000 with no percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.
About Penobscot Community Health Care
Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC) is a non-profit, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) founded in 1997 to ensure access to comprehensive, integrated primary health care services for all to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and the Maine communities served. Sixteen practices and program service sites in the Bangor area, and in Belfast and Jackman, offer a wide range of services including family medicine, dental, pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health and substance abuse, specialty services, pharmacy and healthcare for the homeless.
Online at www.pchc.com.
Press release prepared by Dan Cashman, public relations director at Sutherland West.