Overdose Prevention Project

Welcome to the September issue of the Overdose Prevention Project's e-newsletter!  In this issue you will find information about and events for National Recovery Month as well as an entire section devoted to returning Iraq & Afghanistan veterans and the issues they face regarding substance abuse.

Amanda, Ronni & Nancy
Overdose Prevention Project

September is National Recovery Month!

Visit RecoveryMonth.gov

While National Recovery Month themes change each year, it is important to note that the message does not: Recovery is everywhere!  Join us as we celebrate in Maine & Nationwide!  There are 4 SAMHSA-sponsored events happening in September.  FMI Contact Deb Dettor, Maine Alliance for Addiction Recovery (MAAR) and be sure to Check Out Recovery Maine on MySpace!
Highlighting the Issues: Veterans & Substance Abuse

NY Times Special Series War Torn: After the Battle, Fighting the Bottle at Home
"Most nights when Anthony Klecker, a former marine, finally slept, he found himself back on the battlefields of Iraq. He would awake in a panic, and Veteran Anthony Klecker (Photo Courtesy: Klecker Family)struggle futilely to return to sleep.  Mr. Klecker's case is part of a growing body of evidence that alcohol abuse is rising among veterans...Studies indicate that illegal drug use, much less common than heavy drinking in the military, is up slightly, too." 
Read More / View Video

The Women's War
"On the morning of Monday, Jan. 9, 2006, a 21-year-old Army specialist named Suzanne Swift went AWOL. Her unit, the 54th Military Police Company, out of Fort Lewis, Wash., was two days away from leaving for Iraq.  Swift wouldSuzanne Swift (Photo Courtesy: Katy Grannan/NY Times) later say that she had every intention of going back to Iraq. But in the weeks leading up to the departure date, she started to feel increasingly anxious. She was irritable, had trouble sleeping at night, picked fights with friends, drank heavily." 
Suzanne's Story / "Behind the Story" (Interactive Video Feature)
Articles & Data Related to Veterans & Substance Abuse

College Helps Veterans Navigate Life After Combat
"Day after day, the soldiers march into Catherine Morris's office at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif. They bring the familiar baggage of student life: Worries about whether they are majoring in the right subjects. Concerns about juggling work and classes. Questions about how they might improve their English grades. They also bring Iraq." (Belleville, IL)

Returning Combat Veterans at Increased Risk for Alcohol Problems

"A survey of active-duty veterans and National Guard and Reserve personnel has found that those who were exposed to combat in Iraq or Afghanistan are significantly more likely to engage in heavy drinking and report negative outcomes from drinking, Medical News Today reported August 13.

Army medic made famous in Iraq photo dies Joseph Patrick Dwyer, 31, dies of an apparent overdose
"A former Army medic made famous by a photograph that showed him carrying an injured Iraqi boy during the first week of the war in March 2003 has died of an apparent overdose, police said."

SAMHSA's Office of Applied Studies:
Alcohol & Drug Use Among Veterans
"Combined data...indicate than an annual average of 7% of veterans aged 18 or older experienced past year serious psychological distress, 7.1% met the criteria for a past year substance use disorder, and 1.5% had co-occurring serious psychological distress and substance use disorder."
Substance Abuse & PTSD Resources for Veterans

SAMHSA: Resources for Returning Veterans and Their Families Finding Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
*Webcasts & Conferences
*Resources for Military Families Coping with Trauma
*Mental Health Transformation Trends
*Veteran's Affairs Suicide Prevention Wallet Card (PDF)

Disabled American Vets (DAV): Veterans & Substance Abuse
"More attention must be paid to treating substance abuse among our veterans returning home from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan."

US Department of Veteran Affairs/National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet: Treatment of the Returning Iraq War Veteran
"The co-morbidity of PTSD with alcohol and drug problems in veterans is well established (American Psychological Association, 2003).  For all returning veterans, it will be useful to provide education about safe drinking practices and the relationship between traumatic stress reactions and substance abuse."

US Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs: Comprehensive Legislation to Improve Care for Invisible Wounds of War
"U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs...introduced comprehensive mental health legislation.  "'Servicemen and women return from war suffering from invisible wounds that are complicated and wide-ranging,' Akaka said. The solutions put forth in this legislation will help lead to proper mental health care for our veterans.'"

Welcome Back Veterans
"The players and owners of Major League Baseball have contributed their time and resources to help returning soldiers and their families through Welcome Back Veterans. Now it's up to us to join the effort and do our part by giving generously."
Local Information
Go to AdCare's CalendarVisit MaineGeneral.org

Save the Date: October 17th "Street Drug Training" (Sponsored by MaineGeneral & AdCare)
The purpose of this training is raise awareness of street drug trends in Maine.  The training will provide information about what's going on now and what to expect down the road, what people are using, how they are using, etc.  The training will also provide information about the prevention initiatives going on in Maine. 
FMI Contact LeeAnna LavoieDrug Overdose Prevention Health EducatorMaineGeneral Medical CenterPrevention Center, 621-3740 or llavoie@mainegeneral.org

Workshops on Centering Prayer at the
Alcyon Center in 
Seal Cove
"A group of recovery advocates and spiritual leaders have collaborated to sponsor four workshops in September (12th & 13th, 19th & 20th) on Centering Prayer following the speaking engagements by Father Thomas Keating held in July in Bar Centering Prayer (Maine Lighthouse)Harbor. As Keating describes it, 'Centering Prayer is a method of refining one's intuitive faculties so that one can enter more easily into contemplative prayer. It is not the only path of contemplation, but it is a good one.' The daily practice has been adapted for use by many people in recovery.
For more information or to make a reservation, contact Kathy Miller at the Maine Lighthouse at 207-288-3331 or kmiller@mainelighthouse.org, or The Alcyon Center at 207-244-1060 or alcyon@juno.com.
*The Alcyon Center is a retreat space in a quiet, wooded setting along the coast of Mount Desert Island. Overnight accommodations are available at various prices. The fee for the workshop plus six follow up sessions is $20. Space is limited and reservations are required.
National News You Can Use

Next Meeting & E-News Sharing Link
Our Website Has Been UPDATED!
We've streamlined our page and now each branch of substance abuse prevention programs--Overdose Prevention Project, One Maine One Portland and the Portland Women's Taskforce--has its own logo and program-specific links. We also have added our PSAs to the OPP site--Check us out at: www.substanceabuse.portlandmaine.gov

Next Meeting
Our next meeting is scheduled for October 8, 2008 from 2:00-3:30 at Merrimack River Medical Services. If you'd like more info or would like to inquire about joining us, please contact Ronni Katz at rmk@portlandmaine.gov or at 756-8116.

Phone Cards

If you or your organization would like to donate funds toward the purchase of calling cards to be handed out at outreach sites, please contact Amanda

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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).
Contact 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!
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 and the City of Portland Health & Human Services Department, Public Health Division
If you have any comments or questions regarding the content provided in the newsletter,
please contact Amanda at aedgar@portlandmaine.gov.