BANGOR, Maine — Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC) President and CEO Lee Umphrey announced the launch of the opioid-recovery program, "Connecting with Opportunities Initiative." It will connect people directly and indirectly impacted by opioid use disorder (OUD).
"It's going to create a structure to get the jobs, skills, and social skills they need to succeed," Umphrey said.
The initiative is funded by a $6.2 million federal grant secured by Maine's Department of Labor in partnership with EMDC.
Umphrey says this grant will work with many groups across Maine. The Bangor Area Recovery Network (the BARN) is the primary one.
The grant will provide peer navigators to the BARN and other groups across Maine.
RELATED: More Maine drug deaths in 2019 than 2018; 16% increase in deaths due to non-pharmaceutical drugs
"Peer navigators will provide services to those who are recovering from OUD," BARN Executive Director Bruce Campbell said. "They will also help those affected by someone in their family with OUD and chronically unemployed people who have not worked for over six months."
Umphrey says the initiative couldn't come at a better time as the COVID-19 pandemic has isolated those with OUD from services they desperately need.
RELATED: If you're struggling with substance abuse residential treatment programs are open during coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic
RELATED: U.S. Department of Labor awards grant to the Maine Department of Labor in response to opioid crisis