Two years ago, to address the ever-worsening drug addiction epidemic in Lincoln County, all Lincoln County law enforcement and corrections departments came together with addiction treatment providers, hospitals, the YMCA, and other community organizations. They formed the Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative to offer proactive outreach to people with drug addictions by law enforcement officers and other participants of the Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative network.
The approach was planned with knowledge that individuals in the community are concerned about the broad impact and ripple effect that addiction has and are willing to be part of a solution to support the recovery of others. It is intended to provide support and expand, not supplant, existing services and initiatives that help residents navigate and access local social services, including mental health and addiction, as well as housing, employment, and other key resources. The recovery experience is unique for everyone.
The Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative intended to create “Angels” to help to guide individuals to explore available resources that best match their own needs.
While the “Angels” program was not implemented, the Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative uses “recovery coaches,” addiction specialists, and the criminal justice system working together to accomplish these same goals.
On April 10, at the Rockland Public Library, the Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative described its outstanding results to a standing-room audience of Knox County officials and residents. Since that time, Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative activities have been observed by representatives from the Knox County District Attorney’s office, Knox County Sheriff’s Department, local police departments in Knox County, and representatives of the Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition and the Coastal Recovery Community Center. All Knox County representatives have uniformly been very impressed by the impressive results in Lincoln County.
In a similar fashion, after representatives from Waldo County observed the Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative approach, they created the Waldo County Recovery Committee, modeled after the Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative on June 14 to implement similar changes in Waldo County.
On Wednesday, Aug. 22 at 5 p.m. at the Rockland City Council chambers, a panel will discuss the possibility of creation of a similar organization in Knox County. The panel will consist of Knox County officials and leaders of Knox County nonprofit organizations involved in addressing the local addiction epidemic. While additional panelists have not yet confirmed participation, the current panel includes Dave Miramant, a Maine State senator representing Senate District 12; Danielle Mayer, of Maine Behavioral Healthcare; Sarah Parnell, of Groups, an addiction practice in Rockland; Ira Mandel, of Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition, and John Jeffers, retired Maine Behavioral Healthcare licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor and board member of Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition.
The session will begin with an introduction to the topic including: a history of collaboration in Knox County in regard to recovery, a history of the Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative, and findings of Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative by Knox County stakeholders. In order to assess the pros and cons of adopting a Knox County Recovery Collaborative, the panel will examine and discuss the current status of recovery-oriented approaches, services, and interested stakeholders in Knox County.
People are invited to join this important meeting to determine next steps, which will most likely include:
1. Determining the level of interest and support of Knox County stakeholders in adopting a similar approach to the Lincoln County Recovery Collaborative
2. Identification of individuals and organizations who wish to lead efforts to pursue a Knox County Recovery Collaborative
3. Identification of the stakeholders and adoption process to pursue the potential collaborative
4. Clarification of the expectations of stakeholders in the collaborative, and beginning to develop a memorandum of understanding for all participants to review, revise, and to sign
5. How to move forward with implementation of agreed-upon activities
This meeting is open to the public and questions and comments from the audience will be accommodated.