Senators Collins, King Announce $150,000 to Help Combat Opioid Epidemic Among Maine’s Youth

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that three organizations in Maine have received a total of $150,000 to reduce opioid, methamphetamine, and prescription drug use among youth.  This funding was awarded through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) Local Drug Crisis Program, legislation co-sponsored by Senators Collins and King to combat the opioid epidemic.


“The opioid crisis is devastating individuals, families, and communities across our state.  Last year, 504 Mainers died from overdoses, a tragic record that exceeded the deaths caused by COVID-19 in 2020,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement.  “This funding will improve prevention, treatment, and recovery resources to create a lasting, positive impact on the lives of young Mainers.”


“This CARA funding is so especially appreciated and important to the Choose To Be Healthy Coalition. Our partners and staff have done such a great job these past three years building youth resiliency. But communities need sustained funding to really do the work we need to do. Until all states prioritize and institutionalize mental health care and drug prevention work, coalitions like ours rely on these federal and state grants. Maine is dealing with a mental health crisis among our youth and young adults which has only gotten worse during the pandemic. The CARA funding will allow us to continue our efforts to build youth resiliency and prevent the drug use that often goes along with youth isolation, anxiety and depression,” said Sally Manninen, Director, Choose To Be Healthy Coalition & Community Health.


The funding will help reduce opioid, methamphetamine, and/or prescription drug use among youth and change the culture and context regarding acceptability of drug use among youth.  The grants were awarded as follows:


·         Choose To Be Healthy Coalition in York, Wells, Ogunquit, Kittery, South Berwick, Berwick, North Berwick, Eliot, and Lebanon received $50,000.  The funding will be used to educate parents, teachers, and other caring adults on ways to support at-risk youth; provide evidence-based curriculum for youth and parents to prevent substance use; support intervention programs; and collaborate with local treatment and recovery providers to ensure that young people with drug addiction have the resources they need.


·         Sebasticook Valley Health in Pittsfield received $50,000.  The funding will be used to implement evidence-based and practice-based strategies to address drug use, improve awareness of and response to distressingly high rates of child abuse and neglect that impact youth substance use rates, and strengthen support for youth.


·         Healthy Lincoln County Substance Use Prevention Partnership in Damariscotta received $50,000.  The funding will support intensive outreach, education, and support for LGBTQ youth and their parents, as well as for families involved in the lobster and fishing industries.


The CARA Local Drug Crisis Program is designed to support communities as they mobilize individuals and organizations to prevent and reduce local drug use, including opioid, methamphetamine, and prescription drug misuse, among youth between the ages of 12 and 18 in communities throughout the United States.