Regional Reentry Center receives grant for Vivitrol, a drug to combat addiction

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 9:30pm

    BELFAST — The Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center (MCRRC) has been awarded a $20,000 grant by United Midcoast Charities (UMC) to start the Medicated Assisted Treatment program, according to Waldo County Sheriff Jeff Trafton.

    The grant will allow interested MCRRC residents who are preparing for release and Waldo County residents preparing for release from Two Bridges Regional Jail to begin participating in a drug treatment program.

    Those who participate in the program will be given an injection of Vivitrol, a drug that helps combat opioid addiction.

    Vivitrol, which is the brand name given naltrexone, is an antagonist that blocks opioids from reaching opioid receptors in the brain. Though the drug attaches to the receptors it does not release dopamine, meaning that it does not lead to physical dependence. The shots are effective for 30 days and are given out monthly.

    The first dose of Vivitrol is provided free by the company, with the $20,000 UMC grant going towards the subsequent shots.

    The Medicated Assisted Treatment program is just one of the many programs targeting addiction run by MCRRC, including dedicated, certified drug counselors. In addition to their presence at the center, the counselors also travel to Two Bridges Regional Jail at least once a week to work with Waldo County residents there.

    Trafton said that working to help Waldo County residents who are incarcerated get a chance to get their lives on track is important and that jail can be a pivotal time in people’s lives.

    “Some of these folks, when they come in, it’s a very low point for them. Often when they’re at their lowest point [is when] they’re ready to at least start discussions and start working on some kind of recovery. We want to be there, we want to have resources ready, so that when they’re ready to seek assistance we have something to offer them,” Trafton said.

    “This program, this grant, is going to help them do that.”

    A recently released report, funded by the Maine Office of Attorney General, showed that from January through June 2018, 180 people died from drug overdoses in Maine. This is slightly fewer than the 185 deaths that occurred during the same period in 2017.

    A “drug death” is identified when one or more drugs are mentioned on the death certificate as a cause or significant contributing factor to death, according to the report.

    The report states that 61 percent of the drugs involved in fatal overdoses were non-pharmaceutical fentanyl and fentanyl analogs; pharmaceutical opioids accounted for 26 percent of the deaths.

    Of the 180 deaths during the first six months of the year, 90 percent were determined to be accidental overdoses, while eight percent were recorded as suicides. The remaining two percent were undetermined.

    Over 77 percent of the deaths were caused by two or more drugs, which includes alcohol, with the average cause of death mentioning three drugs, according to the report.

    Opioids were involved in 84 percent of the reported deaths, including both pharmaceutical and illicit drugs.

    Erica Thoms can be reached at