Municipalities have an important role to play in addressing the opioid misuse problem gripping Maine. To help, GPCOG is leading Communities Addressing Opioid Misuse – a regional effort that provides municipal leaders with the knowledge and support they need to guide effective, community-wide strategies. Working with public health consultant Liz Blackwell-Moore, GPCOG is working with individual municipalities to increase understanding of the issue and create a plan for action. The project seeks to:
- Expand municipal leaders’ understanding of the root causes of opioid addiction – including Adverse Childhood Experiences – and engage them as champions for comprehensive, evidence-based solutions in their communities.
- Increase the adoption and implementation of evidence-based policies and practices in Cumberland County municipalities.
The Town of Falmouth is the first GPCOG member to use the Communities Addressing Opioid Misuse approach. On January 23, 2019, Falmouth partnered with GPCOG to host hosted a workshop with their council and school board. The two-hour public workshop included education on the root causes of opioid use disorder and action planning around using evidence-based strategies to respond.
After the workshop, GPCOG worked with Falmouth to refine its action plan and begin implementation. Falmouth hosted a Public Forum on March 13th, 2019 to share the action plan with residents and get feedback.
GPCOG has been working on this issue since 2016 when the Metro Regional Coalition identified it as a top concern. This regional group – composed of Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Gorham, Portland, Scarborough, South Portland, and Westbrook – participated in strategic planning including conducting a community scan that identifies key stakeholders working on harm reduction, treatment, and recovery.
At GPCOG’s 2017 Annual Summit, our communities discussed a regional approach to opioid issues and next steps for all municipalities. See more in the Opiate Roundtable Discussion video from the 2017 Annual Summit. From that meeting, GPCOG developed this toolkit for towns.
There are several providers of prevention covering all the towns in Cumberland County.
The Opportunity Alliance, Public Health Program
The City of Portland, Public Health Division
Casco Bay CAN
Westbrook Communities that Care
Windham/Raymond Be the Influence