2016-09-15 / Community News

Grant to aid drug issues in Biddeford, Saco

The city of Biddeford, in collaboration with the city of Saco, received notice of a Conditional Contract Award under RFP 201606122 Grants for Substance Abuse Assistance Programs issued by the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Biddeford and Saco’s municipal governments, police departments and the University of New England’s Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition and Southern Maine Healthcare collaborated to form the Saco Biddeford Opioid Outreach Initiative in response to the grant opportunity. The initiative is modeled after a program created by the Arlington Police Department in Arlington, Massachusetts. It is designed to meet drug users and their families “where they’re at” to facilitate pathways to community-based treatment, medically assisted treatment and recovery and support services. The program is founded on the premise that detoxification occurs behind walls but recovery occurs in the community.

Funding from the grant will allow Biddeford and Saco’s police departments to hire two initiative coordinators who will work collaboratively to meet a set of strategic goals and objectives designed to reduce the number of opiate overdoses, reduce the volume of criminal activity associated with drug seeking behaviors, expand access to treatment options, empower and motivate families, and reduce social stigma associated with addiction as a whole.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a community that helps citizens achieve and maintain longterm recovery” said Biddeford’s Mayor Alan Casavant.

“There are no ‘instant fixes’ to drug addiction issues but I believe this is an excellent step for our communities and our citizens,” said Saco Mayor Roland Michaud.

“Sharing resources and working collaboratively with Saco on this serious issue makes both economic and logistical sense for both communities,” said Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre.

“We are excited to partner with Biddeford to address what has become a serious and shared issue for our communities,” said Saco Police Chief Brad Paul.

The police departments intend to have the initiative coordinators on board by mid to late November and be fully operational in January 2017.

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