SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – P.A.A.R.I. Executive Director Allie Hunter traveled to Maine on Thursday for a pop-up event to call attention to the availability and importance of lifesaving resources for those suffering from substance use disorders including NARCAN, fentanyl test strips and community programs for those suffering and their families.
The event at the Day’s Inn South Portland was a resounding success and called attention to the ongoing and rising opioid crisis in the nation, as well as in Maine.
“Overdose deaths are at the highest point ever in recorded history, with 93,000 lives lost in 2020,” Hunter said.
The event called attention to the vital need for widened access to NARCAN in communities. NARCAN, which is safe, available and requires little to no training to use, and has proven effective at stopping a potentially fatal overdose in its tracks.
“I actually believe everyone should carry NARCAN whether or not you’re personally impacted by it because you might be a first responder and the minutes can matter in terms of saving someone’s life,” Hunter told members of the news media present at the pop-up event.
Nearly three dozen residents came and picked up free NARCAN doses and fentanyl test strips. The event was done in partnership with the South Portland Police Department. P.A.A.R.I. has a full-time Recovery Corps member embedded with South Portland Police Department, through a grant from AmeriCorps.
The South Portland Police Department is also one of 21 police departments participating in P.A.A.R.I.’s One2One engagement to recovery program.