Re: “DHHS chief: Maine’s state government can’t arrest or spend its way out of heroin crisis” (Nov. 10):

As a board member of Maine Behavioral Healthcare, I want to take this opportunity to thank Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew for her astute framing of the heroin crisis facing our state.

As she stated, we need to “employ strategies to save those in the grips of this deadly drug, prevent others from starting down this horrendous path, restore the stability of families, protect vulnerable children and improve the safety of our communities.”

Families face daily struggles in getting loved ones help. People suffering with addiction need long-term comprehensive treatment solutions to support their recovery and sobriety. Economic, social and legal obstacles only complicate the system. From lack of resources to pay for treatment, to social stigma and access to services in this rural state, we face many obstacles to helping people get sober.

This is a far-reaching problem that we, one mental health organization, cannot tackle alone. Luckily, we have partners like Mid Coast Hospital’s Addiction Recovery Program. We are working on a solution together to provide medication management (Suboxone treatment), group therapy and transportation options to access services, along with training staff on co-occurring disorders.

Providing treatment at every level, from acute to ongoing recovery, is paramount. It will have to be a concerted effort to make a change. And if anyone is stubborn enough to tackle this head on, it’s Mainers.

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