State grant funds aimed at creating addiction recovery centers in Houlton, Caribou

6 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — Having a place where those suffering from addiction can come for support has long been a dream for members of the Link for Hope group.

Now that dream is one step closer to reality thanks to a partnership with the Aroostook Mental Health Center and a five-year state grant the two received to open two peer-run recovery centers in The County.

The grant, which was awarded through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse Peer Support Recovery Centers program, totals $120,000 a year for the Southern Aroostook area for four years with the potential of a fifth year based on results.

One center will be located in Caribou, while the second center will be located in Houlton. Exactly where those centers will be remains up in the air, Trudy Rairdon, co-chairman of Link for Hope, said Friday, since organizers have yet to identify specific locations.

“We have identified several locations in Houlton that might work and are in negotiations with those people,” Rairdon said.

Link for Hope is a non-profit, community based coalition with a vision of promoting health, safety and quality of life for all youth, families and community members in southern Aroostook County.

“The mission of the Link for Hope coalition is to enhance the quality of life [in the area] by reducing problems related to alcohol and other drug problems and teen suicide,” Rairdon said.

Each recovery center would be a day service center only, with no in-patient beds or overnight accomodations, Rairdon said.

“What we are looking for is a drop-in center for support for people that are in recovery,” she said.

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings were once extremely well organized and held every week in Houlton, Rairdon said, but those meetings are now more sporadic and harder to find. She said it is their hope to create a center where all forms of addiction can host gatherings.

“We are also looking to be a place where multiple groups can come in and use our center,” she explained. “We also want it to be a social place, similar to the BARN (Bangor Area Recovery Network), with dances and potluck suppers.”

The BARN is a volunteer-run recovery center located in Brewer created “to provide a sustainable and reliable community recovery center that supports the needs of people affected by addiction.”

“We want to be the supportive place for people,” Rairdon said. “A lot of people have said when they come back to this community, there are gaps in the services. They don’t know who to call or where to go. Our goal is to have a center that has all of that information for them. We will not be the ones providing the services, but we can facilitate finding things for them.”

She said the purpose of the center is to have a place for a variety of groups or agencies to use for weekly or monthly gatherings, all with the purpose of aiding those needing recovery.

“Addiction affects everyone in our community,” she said. “It is estimated that for every person who is battling a substance use disorder, 10 other people are affected. Treatment and a healthy, supportive recovery community can only benefit our town.”

Although much of the cost for the centers will be provided by the grant funds, additional funding is needed to come up with office furniture. To help raise funds for the southern Aroostook center, a benefit supper will be held on Saturday, July 28, at the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum in Littleton.

During that supper, a silent auction and regular auction also will take place, featuring a variety of items that have been donated to the cause.

For more information on the Southern Aroostook Recovery Center, visit Link for Hope’s Facebook page.