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Maine pilot program could allow providers to start addiction treatment for patients

A Suboxone dose on scene would be followed up by telehealth visits from providers


Photo/Wikimedia Commons

By Leila Merrill

WESTBROOK, Maine — Maine could become the first state to allow emergency responders to initiate recovery care using Suboxone, which contains buprenorphine and naloxone.

“The medication treats withdrawal symptoms and can help people living with opioid addiction enter into recovery,” WMTW reported.

“There have been occasions where we’ve responded to the same person multiple times in the same day,” said Westbrook Fire Chief Stephen Sloan, who said he looks forward to implementing the Suboxone pilot program through Maine EMS.

“That is really where many of us see an opportunity for us to provide assistance in transitioning people to recovery,” said Maine EMS director Sam Hurley.

According to Maine EMS, roughly 30% of overdose patients refuse transportation to a hospital where they can access resources.

Through the program, EMS providers could offer patients continued care via telehealth and a first dose on-site.

Hurley said that five to 10 agencies will participate in the program next year and a statewide rollout could happen in three years.

The estimated cost is $6.1 million over four years and is funded through federal grants, Hurley said.