Article originally posted on Turner Publishing.
SKOWHEGAN — Skowhegan Police Chief David Bucknam realized more support was needed for those in the Skowhegan area experiencing opiate use disorder after overdose data in Somerset County showed that there were 13 overdose deaths.
Bucknam collaborated with Robin Cochrane-Crane, a recovery coach coordinator at Kennebec Behavioral Health to plan ride-alongs with Skowhegan police officers. They developed a program in which Cochrane-Crane travels throughout Skowhegan with a police officer meeting people who have OUD, their friends, or family members to share information about local treatment options and recovery information. Cochrane-Crane and the Skowhegan Police Department have had a profound positive impact in the community by providing information, support and options for those seeking help with OUD.
In the past three months, Cochrane-Crane has provided more than 100 free Narcan kits, which can counteract the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose, to community members in Skowhegan. Since most accidental overdoses occur in a home setting, having Narcan in the home can potentially save lives. No medical training is required to use it.
Cochrane-Crane is also educating the community about the disease of OUD and is working to reduce the stigma associated with it so more people will seek treatment and recovery.
The recovery coach ride-alongs are a key strategy of the Pathways to Recovery Program. The multi-agency program creates support in Somerset County for low barrier, easy access to Opioid Use Disorder prevention, treatment and recovery services.
For more information about the Pathways to Recovery project, or if you need help with OUD treatment or recovery, want to share your experience or would like information about receiving free Narcan, contact Linda MacKenzie at Somerset Public Health, firstname.lastname@example.org.
*PHOTO: From left, Skowhegan Police Department Sgt,. Kris McKenna, Robin Cochrane-Crane, recovery coach coordinator for Somerset County; and Skowhegan Police Department Officer Billie Hatfield.