March 2008

Spring Flowers
Spring is on its way!

Welcome to Portland's Overdose Prevention Project (OPP)
3rd issue e-newsletter!

In this issue you will find publication links and community updates as well as articles that reflect the struggles of our justice system and the increasing need to address issues surrounding incarcerated people and addiction.
  Additionally, you will find member updates and highlights!
A Thank You to Scott Pelletier, Portland PD & MDEA

This month, our wonderful Overdose Prevention Project partner Scott Pelletier will be moving out of the MDEA...We'll miss you, Scott! 

A little more about Scott, from Ronni...

Five years ago I was hired by the Public Health Division to coordinate the newly formed Fatal Opiate Overdose Prevention Project.  One of the first people I met was Scott Pelletier who represented the Portland Police Department and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.  I was immediately impressed with his passion and dedication to the mission to greatly reduce the number of fatal overdoses in Portland.  With the record number of thirty-eight deaths in 2002, we knew we had our work cut out for us.

In the ensuing years, Scott played a major role in what became known as the Overdose Prevention Project (OPP).  He served on special work groups and helped us come up with the now-familiar "Call 911" posters and wallet cards.  He bridged the gap between the clinics and law enforcement and helped create a network of communication that was built upon a trusting partnership that still exists today.  When he and I visited shelters and treatment groups to speak with adults and teens, he always touched them with his heartfelt honest approach and left every participant with a smile and an offer to help.  Scott single-handedly helped change many people's negative perceptions of law enforcement.  I will always remember when a consumer at
the Preble Street Resource Center raised his hand and shared, "I can always tell the goodness of a man by his heart and today sir, I look at your face and see your heart."

So much of what I have learned and what I have been able to accomplish in Portland can be attributed to the work I have done with Scott Pelletier.  He has been an ardent supporter, a creative and determined collaborator, a vast source of data and knowledge and a wonderful and caring friend.  As he transitions out of his MDEA role into a new assignment with the Portland Police Department, on behalf of all of us in the OPP, I wish you the best of luck.  Be safe and well and know that we will miss your presence.  You are one in a million!

-Ronni Katz

Training Opportunity: Advancing Recovery Forum

Join us for a Recovery Forum about
Medication Assisted Recovery

The Maine Alliance for Addiction and Recovery is happy to announce the upcoming training with Lisa Mojer-Torres, national recovery advocate & civil rights attorney.  Ms. Mojer-Torres is a nationally recognized expert regarding stigma and discrimination in addiction treatment and recovery. She speaks from her experience as a methadone advocate who is also in long-term recovery from heroin addiction.

Click Here for the Brochure & Registration Information
(Pre-registration is required; there is no cost to participate)


This training is supported by MAAR's recovery outreach as a partner with the Advancing Recovery Grant awarded to Maine Office of Substance Abuse and is open to people in recovery from alcohol & drug related problems and family members & significant others affected by addiction & recovery. 
Spotlight on Recovery: Nancy DeYoung on WCSH6

Nancy DeYoung, our hardworking and dedicated Overdose Prevention ProjectWCSH6 assistant was interviewed by Caroline Cornish of WCSH6 in early February about her road to recovery.  WCSH6 did a special series about women in recovery and Nancy has allowed us to use her story for this issue of our newsletter.  We are extremely proud of her and wanted to share her video!

Click Here for the Link
Click "Play Video" on the Article Page - Free registration may be required
Portland Women's Taskforce: Update
With members from various Maine Medical Center (MMC) departments, The Women's Project, Portland Community Policing, Discovery House, City of Portland Public Health Division's Overdose Prevention Project (OPP), CAP Quality Care, Maine Alliance for Addiction & Recovery (MAAR), DHHS, Mercy Recovery, Family Crisis Services and the Maine Lighthouse Foundation, the Portland Women's Task Force has been officially formed! 

As a group of professionals and concerned citizens, we have come together to help create a safety net for addicted women in Portland. It is our goal to help them have better access to services and support, especially in high risk neighborhoods. The intention of this group is to share ideas and concerns and to build partnerships that will create a continuum of care for those we serve.

To build on our network, we have created a group on
Yahoo! called "Portland Women's Task Force."
If you would like to join the email group or would like to learn more,
please contact Ronni Katz at 756-8116

Our next meeting is scheduled for March 5, 2008 from 1:30-3:00.

News You Can Use
Spend Less on Prisons, More on Treatment?
"Senate lawmakers unveiled a plan Wednesday to cut spending on Vermont's corrections system by closing a Waterbury prison and focusing more efforts on treating nonviolent criminals in local communities.  Four Democratic leaders of the Vermont Senate said their plan to restructure major parts of the state's prison system is still a work in progress, but that it could end up saving the state millions of dollars in a few years."
Click Here for the Full Rutland (VT) Herald Article

NIDA Survey Shows
Lack of Substance Abuse Treatment Options for Offenders

"Substance abuse treatment services for offenders are not widely available in all phases of the correctional system, according to the first set of findings from a national survey funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The National Criminal Justice Treatment Practices Survey (NCJTPS) provides a picture of existing treatment programs across all correctional settings, including prison, jails, probation and parole offices, and local community correction agencies for juvenile and adult offenders. The survey findings, published in a special issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, question the capability of the adult and/or juvenile correctional system to effectively address drug abuse and associated criminal behavior among offenders."
Click Here for the Full NIDA Article

Data shows substance abuse treatment reduces crime
"This new report confirms that investing in drug and alcohol treatment is both socially responsible and fiscally prudent and should be a top public policy priority," said Maryland Delegate Bill Bronrott, chair of the House Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. "The report documents the tangible results of treatment, such as cutting crime, reclaiming lives, and making healthier families and safer communities. More investments in these lifesaving and cost-effective services are needed now to expand the benefits of treatment that this report so clearly demonstrates."
Click Here for the Full Justice Policy Institute Article (PDF)

New Hampshire Taskforce on Women & Recovery

"One of the focus areas of NHTWR is education. We are always developing new training materials and publications that help communities, individuals, and policy makers understand the needs of women, girls and families affected by alcohol, drug and other addictions. Our publications are informed through research and input from women with lived experience, and by the most current national and local research available. NHTWR serves as a resource for recovering women, funders, program planners, clinicians and across disciplines."
Click Here for the Full List of Publications from NHTWR

Substance Use Treatment Among Women of Childrearing Age
"Research suggests that most people who have a substance use problem do not receive treatment.  In 2006, 7.4 million women aged 18 or older needed treatment for a substance abuse disorder involving alcohol or illicit drugs, but only 822,000 (11.2 percent) received treatment.  This report focuses on substance use treatment among women of childrearing age (18 to 49), for whom substance use may pose particular risks to vulnerable offspring."
Click Here for the Full NSDUH Report (PDF)

Hispanic Female Admissions in Substance Abuse Treatment
"The population of Hispanic females in the United States has continued to increase steadily over the last 5 years. In 2005, Hispanic females accounted for 14 percent of the U.S. female population.  Hispanic females include a mixture of ethnic subgroups which differ widely in substance abuse patterns from the non-Hispanic female population and from each other."
Click Here for the Full DASIS Report (PDF)

Dad: Ledger's death should serve as warning
Kim Ledger discusses 'hidden dangers of combining prescription medication'
PERTH, Australia - "Heath Ledger's death by accidental overdose should serve as a warning to others not to mix prescription drugs, his father said, calling the loss an enduring agony for his family.  The New York medical examiner announced Wednesday that the 28-year-old 'Brokeback Mountain
' star died from the effects of taking six types of painkillers and sedatives."
Click Here for the Full Associated Press Article

The OPP Event & Meeting Calendar
Click Here for the OPP Calendar
Calendar Listings
The Overdose Prevention Project will publish meetings, events and upcoming class offerings using  Please submit your listings as soon as they become available.  You can click the icon (above) for the OPP Calendar page; this page is also available for viewing or for forwarding anytime by clicking:
Next Meeting
The next OPP Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for April 2, 2008.  If you would like to inquire about attending a meeting, please contact Ronni Katz at rmk@portlandmaine.govor 756-8116.

Website Update: City of Portland
Substance Abuse Prevention Programs

We have been working on updating our Substance Abuse Prevention Program webpage and we are happy to say that it nearly complete!  We have listed area treatment providers as well as national resources for community members, families, teens and specific resources for women in need.  If you would like to add anything, let us know!  Check us out at:
Who We Are...

Overdose Prevention Project Members
Portland's OPP is made up of numerous statewide and local treatment and prevention providers as well as other state and local agencies.  Representatives are from: Discovery House, CAP Quality Care, Portland Police Department and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, OSA, Community Substance Abuse Centers and various departments within the City of Portland's Public Health Division (Health & Human Services Department).

ontact Us

Call Ronni Katz, City of  Portland Public Health Division's Substance Abuse Prevention Program Coordinator at 756-8116 or Amanda Edgar, City of Portland Public Health Division's Community Health Promotion Specialist at 756-8053 for more information about the OPP's efforts or to learn more about community resources!

What We Do...
Our Mission
To prevent drug overdoses by providing support, advocacy, education & outreach to the Portland community through positive collaborations & partnerships.
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      The Overdose Prevention Project is supported by the
Maine Office of Substance Abuse (OSA) & the City of Portland's Public Health Division, Health & Human Services Department

Click Here for the PHD Website

Click Here for OSA's Website

If you have questions regarding the content provided in this e-newsletter, please email Amanda Edgar at