|Maine Medicine Weekly E-Update, July 20, 2022
Governor Mills Hosts 4th Annual Opioid Response Summit
Nearly 1,200 participants gathered at the Cross Insurance Arena in Bangor for Governor Mills’ 4th Annual Opioid Response Summit this past Monday, July 11th. The event highlighted the urgency of responding to a crisis that took the lives of nearly 600 Mainers in 2021 alone.
Members of the recovery community publicly recounted their past struggles with addiction. Their stories of hardship and strength along with their words and courage brought life to the theme of this year’s summit: “Community, Connection, and Compassion”. The event’s many keynotes were book-ended by voices of Maine recovery, those with the most personal stories of the addiction crisis in Maine.
Keynote speakers stressed the importance of prevention, treatment, and recovery resources to lessen the growing number of those afflicted with substance use disorder (SUD). Prominent attendees included Governor Janet Mills; Director of Opioid Response, Gordon Smith; Senator Angus King; Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah; Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeane Lambrew; U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine, Darcie McElwee; Acting Director of the Maine Office of Behavioral Health, Sarah Squirrel; Maine Attorney General, Aaron Frey; and representatives from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, SAMHSA, and DEA.
Attendees gathered from each corner of Maine and around the nation to build their own “Community, Connection, and Compassion” led by those in recovery themselves. Participants included physicians, legislators, researchers, recovery workers, allies, law enforcement officials, and members of the judicial system.
There was a sense of state pride amongst the crowd that Mainers value the voices of recovery. The Summit embodied a commitment to act as allies of the Maine recovery movement while serving as a guidepost for the rest of the nation on how to respond to the opioid epidemic most effectively.
The experiences of those in recovery underscored a powerful perspective on the importance of solving the opioid epidemic and advocating for substantive policy change. The content of the event coupled with high attendance in an in-person environment provided hope for many in the audience while providing a forum to discuss valuable tactics for building a stronger recovery community in Maine.
The State of Maine’s premier resource for data on the substance use crisis: Maine Drug Data Hub
More on the Summit’s organizing agency may be found here: Office of Opioid Response< Previous Article | Next Article >
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