Tag: Danielle Beckwith

According to Maine’s Attorney General’s Office, the evident opiate epidemic in Maine has resulted in 50 more deaths in 2014 from just 4 years ago.

In response to WMTW’s series on Maine’s Heroin Epidemic this month, Outpatient Therapy Director Luanne Starr Rhoades of Health Affiliates Maine comments, “There are a lot of reasons Maine is struggling with this epidemic.  In the not too distant past, physicians felt freer to treat their patient’s pain with opiates. In many cases, it was too much, for too long; and some people became addicted.”

Rhoades elaborates, “Now, with increased scrutiny of prescribing practices, physicians are hesitant to prescribe opiates for pain.  Left to their own devices, some people in pain have turned to Heroin and opiate medications sold on the street.  Criminal activity of stealing and diverting prescribed medications also happens.  Street drugs, and especially heroin, are abundant and relatively inexpensive. The supply of opiates and other drugs come into Maine right up the 95 corridor from Boston and New York.   As a result, we are now seeing our neighbors, co-workers and friends impacted by these drugs like never before”.

According to the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, in 2014, nearly seven out of ten overdose deaths involved an opiate. And since 2012, the numbers of deaths involving heroin and or morphine have more than doubled.

Getting help.

These are very alarming statistics, and many are wondering what we can do to combat this.  For those families who want to know how to help their loved one overcome this, there are some options they can consider.  For instance, doing an online search of Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) is a likely first step towards getting clean.

There are also Medication Assisted Treatment options for opiate addiction which are available in Maine in the form of Methodone and Saboxone prescribed by a physician.  Nevertheless, even after moving beyond the physical dependency and the cravings the reasons behind the abuse often are still there.  Seeking therapy from a substance abuse counselor can help individuals work through all of the struggles that lead them to using.

What to watch for.

Some signs and signals we can all watch for, that might mean someone is struggling with an opiate addiction:

  • Social withdrawal from family & loved ones
  • Extreme alterations in mood
  • Weight loss, nausea, diarrhea & vomiting
  • Continued use of the opiate, even after pain has subsided

You can get a complete list of warning signs and other useful information on opiate addiction at:  http://www.addictionhope.com/opiates

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 “To those feeling hopeless, no matter how bad you are hurting, we want you to know …you are not alone and you matter.” 

In light of the recent news from the Brunswick Police Department regarding missing 30 year old Lisa Cox, who is believed to have committed suicide, Executive Director Andrea Krebs of Health Affiliates Maine reflects on her tragic passing “While we do not understand all the facts that lead up to someone choosing to take their own life, we do understand the struggle and bleakness one may feel..  Painful events or feelings of despair, can cause individuals to feel like there is no other option” says Krebs.  “To those feeling hopeless, no matter how bad you are hurting, we want you to know …you are not alone and you matter.” 

According to the Maine CDC, 24% of all deaths in Maine are considered to be suicide and is the 11th leading cause of death in the nation.  Despite the dire statistics, there is help out there and warning signs to help prevent suicide.  “Speaking to a supportive person or professional and developing a safety plan for those more challenging times, are important first steps” says Krebs. 

Signs that all of us can pay attention to that may mean someone is at risk of suicide include talking about:

  • wanting to die or kill oneself
  • feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • being a burden to others

You can get a complete list of warning signs and other useful information at Suicide Prevention Life line: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

If you or someone you know is at risk of harming themselves, please contact the statewide crisis hotline at 1-888-568-1112 or the suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Based in Auburn, Health Affiliates Maine is a growing statewide substance abuse and mental health agency providing therapy, case management and psychiatric assessment and treatment services.  To learn more about Health Affiliates Maine visit: www.HealthAffiliatesMaine.com

Andrea Krebs is available for further comment – she can be reached at (207) 333-3278

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