Coalition offering training in opioid overdose treatment

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BRIDGTON — The Lakes Region Substance Abuse Coalition and several partners are convening a free CPR and overdose prevention training event next week.

The training event, scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 24, at the Bridgton Alliance Church from 5:30-7 p.m., is a collaborative effort with Portland Public Health, the Bridgton Police Department and United Ambulance Services.

The coalition says it is aimed at instructing people how to “offer aid in response to an opioid overdose incident” and teach “simple and effective skills needed to save a life” in the event of an overdose.

“By training more members of the public we hope to reduce overdose death rates in the Lakes Region,” said Paul Fillebrown, the United Ambulance Service operations manager for the Bridgton Division.

While free, registration is required and space is limited to 50 participants.

Lakes Region Substance Abuse Coalition President Cathy Finck said that about 25 people had registered by Jan. 16.

Finck said the training will include insight on the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose and the delivery of naloxone, a medication designed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Finck encouraged anyone in the area struggling with addiction to reach out for treatment.

“We’re fortunate in our community that there are treatment resources,” Finck said. “So if you need them, they’re here.”

A coalition press release highlights treatment options from Crooked River Counseling.

“CRC has been given a slight increase in funds this year from State DHHS grant award, to provide assistance to more people in need of opioid use disorder treatment who are uninsured and not eligible for MaineCare,” said Crooked River Counseling Executive Director Catherine Clough-Bell.

The release says that Crooked River Counseling used that state funding last year to help provide medication-assisted treatment to 116 people.

The training event at the Bridgton Alliance Church will also include pizza and child care for participants. In the case of snow on Jan. 24, a backup date is scheduled for Jan. 31.

Those wishing to register should email the coalition at lrsacoalition@gmail.com or call 207-803-9987.

Finck also announced recently that the coalition received an anonymous, unsolicited $5,000 donation from a local individual, which she said is the largest donation the group has received from a single source.

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or mjunker@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

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