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New addiction treatment center in Brewer takes on 'non-judgmental' approach to recovery

SaVida Health officially opened its second location in Maine on Thursday, November 5 at 41 Acme Road in Brewer. This is its first location in Penobscot County.

BREWER, Maine — People struggling with drug and alcohol addiction will now have another place to turn in Penobscot County.

On Thursday, November 5, SaVida Health officially opened its second location in Maine in Brewer. The practice has been around for 10 years and has more than twenty locations total on the east coast. The original location in Maine is in Biddeford, and the move to Penobscot County was based largely on a big need in the area, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff members at SaVida say their philosophy is different than others' because they offer "wraparound" services, which take on a holistic and non-judgmental approach to recovery. At their facilities, the SaVida team provides medication-assisted treatment for folks with a doctor, as well as licensed alcohol and addiction services counselors, case management, and a peer recovery coach. 

SaVida partners and collaborates with other providers in the area, like shelters, food pantries, detox centers, and sober houses, to meet a variety of needs patients may have -- from food insecurity to homelessness to unemployment. SaVida is part of the Opioid Health Homes program in Maine, designed to make it easier for recovery to stick with people. 

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"When people are trying to get into recovery, they have to change their entire lives. They can’t live with the same people. They can’t go around the same places, and they really need to have another place to go away to start their life over completely," Susan Cary, SaVida's northeast medical director, told NEWS CENTER Maine.

Cary says she believes those in recovery need to be around trustworthy people and have a place to be safe. She also says SaVida supports a harm reduction policy, meaning people may not become sober right away -- and that's okay. Cary says the opposite of addiction is not sobriety -- it's connection. 

"The goal is to try to help people make small steps, come up with small things that they can do that will make themselves feel just a little bit better about their situation -- and really realize that they are on a long path. They didn’t get to this overnight. They won’t recover overnight," Cary explained. 

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MaineCare and Medicare cover this program -- but the SaVida team says it also covers people who are uninsured, too, recognizing that sometimes people ready for recovery aren't in a great place financially when they need change. SaVida is able to offer its services for free in some cases because of a contract with the state of Maine. That means medications Suboxone and Vivitrol prescribed to patients are also covered. 

SaVida is open on Tuesdays and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will adjust its hours based on the need. Anyone is welcome to call the Brewer location at 207-618-5641, visit their website, or walk into the center at 41 Acme Road, Suite 3.

SaVida is taking referrals immediately -- and offering both in-person and telehealth appointments. 

RELATED: Initiatives in central, eastern Maine aim to help people in recovery access telehealth


Virtual and on-site appointments can be made by calling (207) 618-5041 (Brewer), (207) 517-5222 (Biddeford) or (833) 356-4080 or by visiting www.SaVidaHealth.com.

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