Wabanaki Pathway to Hope and Healing

By Amy Jeanroy

Diversion Alert, a collaboration between the Wabanaki Tribal Health Clinics and Husson University School of Pharmacy has resulted in a statewide initiative called “Wabanaki Pathway to Hope and Healing.”

The initiative aims to raise awareness about the risks of opioid overdose, while increasing the ability of tribal communities to respond to such a situation if it does arise, through a community-wide naloxone program, an opiate antidote that can be used in cases of suspected drug overdose. 

Through funds provided by the grant, health care providers in tribal health clinics and staff in all three tribal police departments were trained to prescribe naloxone. Grant funds were used to purchase 150 naloxone kits that were distributed across the five health centers to be dispensed by standing order to patients at risk for opioid overdose, and protocols were established for each clinic for the distribution of naloxone.

According to the Maine Medical Association, there were 272 overdose deaths in Maine last year. In 2014 Emergency Medical Services administered naloxone 829 times in Maine, a report by the State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup says. That number increased in 2015, according to local news reports. 

The initiative also aims to encourage others to support those in recovery and includes a website (recoveryinme.com) that provides resources for communities and families. It specifically includes information about how to use naloxone.

The Wabanaki Tribal Health Clinics, which include the Maliseet Wellness Center, Micmac Service Unit, Passamaquoddy Health Center, Penobscot Nation Health Department, and the Pleasant Point Health Center provide healthcare services to members of Maine’s Wabanaki tribes.

“Public service announcements were created for Wabanaki Pathway to Hope and Healing focus on bringing a much needed message to families and communities about responding to the widespread problem of addiction in our state. That message is that we can all be part of the solution by building families and communities that support people in recovery,” said Clare Desrosiers, executive director of Diversion Alert. 

 

Diversion Alert addresses the prescription drug abuse epidemic with innovative tools which provide access to drug arrest data for medical professional so they can identify and respond to patients at risk for overdose, in need of treatment, or engaged in illegal prescription drug distribution.