SHAPLEIGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The heroin crisis claimed the lives of more than 300 Mainers in 2016.
Jordyn Dumont is a survivor.
At 25, she was among those suffering from addiction who struggled to find affordable and available long term treatment options. Many are put on waiting lists for weeks, sometimes months.
Jordyn’s spiral started with an athletic injury in college, leaving a once vibrant teenager deep in a heroin and then fentanyl addiction.
Her story of a developing addiction isn’t unique - but the distance she and her family went to get help is.
Jordyn’s Journey: Part 1
It’s January of 2017. Twenty-five year old Jordyn Dumont lives every day committed to a strict routine that involves praying, working out, and meditating.
This routine is a commitment to her new life in Montreal. It’s helped her stay on track for the last five months of being sober.
She’s come a long way since August 12, 2016 - when her life took a turn as she lay in a hospital bed.
Her mother Dawna explained that traumatic day, saying, “When the doctor got her in there, asked what she was taking - she told him. [He] asked how she was doing it, and she said injection. I rolled her arm over and saw the track marks.”
Jordyn had run out of money and was deep in fentanyl withdrawal.
It was in this moment that her mother learned what had been going on behind closed doors.
It came as a shock. “I had to leave the room at that point,” said Dawna.
Jordyn had grown up a happy kid in her hometown of Shapleigh, Maine.
But her happy memories have been replaced with a life she wants to leave behind.
“It’s very uncomfortable,” Jordyn said about being back home in Shapleigh, now sober. “”Just going through the memories.”
As a kid, Jordyn loved playing sports. She became a star athlete, even earning herself a field hockey scholarship to St. Joseph’s College in Standish.
Things were looking up - until all her years of sports caught up to her.
“I was around 19 or 20 years old,” Jordyn explained. “I was a field hockey player in college and something happened to my knee.”
After knee surgery, Jordyn was prescribed opiates. What followed was something that happens all too often.
Over the course of five years, Jordyn went from using pills, to heroin, and then to fentanyl. “I always told myself I will stick to drinking,” she said. “I won’t do drugs, and I will never ever touch a needle. And all of that went away when drugs got in my system.”
Getting high began to take over her life. The star athlete dropped out of school and moved to Florida.
Despite her addiction, she kept up her love of physical fitness, become a personal trainer at a gym in Florida.
But she eventually lost her job. Desperate for money, she found herself working in a strip club.
She couldn’t keep up, and eventually moved home to Maine. She lived with her grandmother and managed to hide her addiction from her family until that day in August - when she texted her mom and asked her to bring her to the hospital.
In the hospital, deep in fentanyl withdrawal - Jordyn realized that things had to change.
“[It was] seeing my mom there beside my bedside while I’m convulsing,” she explained. “Her crying…[that’s] the time where I had to be like, ‘Okay this is not only damaging my life but the people around me. And if I don’t take care of it, it’s going to get worse, and I’m going to die.”
After having left the hospital room in shock, Dawna had a similar reaction. “I finally had to sit back and say, ‘Oh my God, what are we dealing with?” she said.
Dawna knew it was time to take action. “It was like fight or flight mode,” she explained. “I’m not thinking about [Jordyn] being a druggie. I’m just thinking about her getting through what she is getting through and living.”
Dawna says she sat for a week, glued to her computer, trying to find anyone who could help her daughter.
When Jordyn left the hospital for fentanyl withdrawal, she went to Milestone in Portland for a 3 day suboxone detox.
But her mother wanted her off drugs entirely - and in a long term inpatient rehab.
So Dawna started by looking in Maine, but says “none of them had a bed open for women. There were a few that didn’t even have beds for women. The ones that did, it was a 4 to 6 months wait.”
Dawna says Jordyn didn’t qualify for certain programs because of her health insurance - so Dawna tried calling programs out of the state.
The programs that she found - in both Arizona and California - had a price tag of over $30,000 for just 28 days of treatment.
Dawna thought that Jordyn needed more time in rehab than 28 days, and she couldn’t afford the high price.
This stress was all packed into a matter of 5 days - as Jordyn lay withdrawing on Dawna’s couch.
Dawna was losing hope, until five days into her search - she got the call.
The help that Jordyn so desperately needed - and the treatment her mother wanted - would be found in Canada.
Jordyn’s Journey: Part 2
Enter: Andy’s House. It’s a small, private, non-clinical, residential treatment center.
It’s also located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and it’s not subsidized by the government at all.
Andy’s House is run by director Mike Weston. It’s his way of paying it forward in his own recovery.
“I was 29 years old,” he explained. “I had three kids, a small business, a failing marriage. And I just scratched my head wondering what I was going to do. I had an alcohol problem, and I used drugs.”
So how does the program at Andy’s House work?
Their first rule: no drugs. It’s a completely abstinence based program. That means no suboxone, and no methadone. All residents must go through withdrawal as the first step to their recovery.
“[Withdrawal is] one of those things that prevents people from actually getting clean,” explained Weston. “It’s just the thought of the withdrawal and the pain...but after three days, it’s gone.”
Next, each resident is given a personalized recovery plan, using a variety of approaches including:
But what Weston says makes Andy’s House special is that they go great lengths to make sure their residents feel like part of a family.
“I’ve heard out competitors say, ‘How do you do it?’” Weston said. “[They say] ‘I keep hearing about Andy’s, how it’s like a family, it’s a community. Hats of to you guys.’”
That’s because the house was founded on family. It’s named after Weston’s brother, Andy.
Weston got choked up when asked about him. He said, “He was a great guy. Loving, outgoing, selfless. He killed himself, so...thank God I was sober.”
So how much does this holistic approach cost? At Andy’s, a resident receives 90 days of inpatient treatment of living in the house, including meals, lodging, doctors appointments, etc.
They then get 2 years of outpatient treatment, and are welcome back to the house for the rest of their lives.
The price for all of this at Andy’s House is $19,500 - in American dollars.
Jordyn’s family had seen some price tags as high as $50,000 for just 28 days of treatment. So how is it possible for Andy’s House to charge less, and offer more?
“This is not something we are going to get rich doing,” said Weston. “That’s not what we are here for. We are here to continue the service.”
That price tag - and the family environment - is what made it possible for Jordyn to get sober.
“My two main counselors...I think of them as a mother and father figure,” said Jordyn. “They saved my life.”
At Andy’s, it isn’t just about the family inside the house, but the family outside of the house as well.
Dawna Dumont says that this element helped her to be involved in Jordyn’s recovery process. “When I go visit her, we do counseling with us as a family, not just her,” she explained.
Jordyn did hit some bumps along the way in her inpatient rehab - when her cousin Alex died. She was unable to go home for his funeral, and needed extra time in rehab to cope.
Recovery is never over - it’s a daily battle for Jordyn, who is now going through her outpatient treatment.
“I have to remind myself how far I’ve come,” she said. “I have to think about where I came from with the drugs. I have to think about where it brought me.”
Jordyn knows she's lucky to be surrounded by support - but hopes that care will become more affordable for those who may not have the same resources.
“You know, we’re not living in high end places here,” she said. “So I would hope that the government, or whoever is in charge of that stuff, would help people get the help they need. Because people are dropping like flies.”
When NEWS CENTER first met Jordyn, it was her first day out of her inpatient treatment at Andy’s. She was home in Shapleigh for just one day.
She was understandably hesitant to telling such a private story on television.
But when she and her mom talked about it, they decided to tell their story. Jordyn said, “At first I did not want to do this. I was scared. But if it’s going to help somebody else, either on the streets or into drugs and alcohol, that there is hope out there.”
Jordyn is living in Montreal, and doesn’t plan on leaving. She is currently applying to school to get a degree in kinesiology to pursue her love of fitness. She is also considering going to school to become an addiction specialist.
Though limited, there are several different types of treatment options for opiate addiction available in our home state of Maine. NEWS CENTER reached out to DHHS to get a current list of different types of treatment centers in Maine.