Volume 11 | February 2024

Maine SUD Learning Community Newsletter

Paul Vinsel, DO

Paul Vinsel practices Addiction Medicine at Tri-County Mental Health Services in Lewiston and Bridgton, Maine. He is also a Preceptor of the Family Medicine Residency Intensive Outpatient Program and Low Barrier for Opioid Use Disorder Program at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine. Dr. Vinsel spent 36 years practicing Emergency Medicine in the US Army, New York, Vermont, and Maine. He graduated from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine with his Doctor of Osteopathy Degree and completed an Emergency Medicine residency at Darnall Army Community Hospital. Dr. Vinsel is Board Certified in Emergency Medicine and Addiction Medicine and was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Maine Board of Osteopathic Licensure. He was also appointed to the Maine Recovery Council by the Attorney General of the State of Maine.

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SUD Learning Community Journal Club 

“I’m still using meth, but only once this week”. What does this mean?! This NIDA study bravely took a step towards understanding what a reported reduction in methamphetamine (MA) or cocaine use might mean for people with stimulant use disorder (do). It found that at about three months’ time “Reduced Use” of stimulants- defined as going from high frequency use (5+ days per month) to low frequency use (1-4 days per month) was associated with lower self-reported ratings for problems from other drug and alcohol use, less depression, better clinical global impression ratings and lower cravings. There were not significant changes in ratings of family/social function or psychiatric symptoms, nor had people achieved low HIV risk behaviors or “problem free functioning”. Those who became abstinent, however, experienced improvements in all of the above, and to a greater degree.

The study includes a relatively healthy group of people as evidenced by their symptom scores –those participating in clinical trials often are. This is a limitation of the work, as is its exploratory nature. In addition, some of the associations here may actually be causal (are reduced cravings a cause or effect of using less?), in other cases, obvious (patient reporting on severity of use at the same time that they report they’ve reduced use), and are relatively short term in the life of a use disorder. Still, it’s encouraging to see development in the vocabulary of harm reduction. Working to define a clinically meaningful reduction in stimulant use, with an understanding of how it compares to abstinence, will offer nuance to the care we give and stands to improve the quality and sensitivity of research.

Please read on for a deeper look at this new angle,


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Saving Lives: Working Together to Improve SUD and OUD Care and Outcomes

Friday | March 15, 2024

Thomas College| Waterville, Me

ME SUD Learning Community's 2nd Annual Conference, Saving Lives: Working Together to Improve SUD and OUD Care & Outcomes, is Maine's foremost opportunity for clinicians and community partners to hear updates on state-of-the-art collaborative practices for treating persons with Substance Use and Opioid Use Disorders (SUD/OUD). Featuring various state and national experts, this conference will outline and explore highly effective models and low/no barrier practices to address the current lethality of fentanyl and the epidemic of drug overdose deaths. Join us to learn practical means to integrate these methodologies into practice, whether in primary care or behavioral health and working with youth or adults.


 Is this conference live or virtual?

 It’s both, your choice!

Will this provide Continuing Education Credits?

 Yes! There are 6 contact hours all the different professions. You can learn more at

ME SUD Learning Community website

Will it address SUD over the life span?

Yes! We have programs addressing youth and adults.

We have national speakers which include, among others: 

  • Stephen Martin, MD, EdM, FAAFP, FASAM Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • R. Corey Waller, MD, MS, FACEP, DFASAM Editor and Chief of The ASAM Criteria, Chief Medical Officer, BrightView
  •  Sarah Bagley, MD, MSc Primary care physician at Boston Medical Center, Medical Director of BMC’s Center for Addiction Treatment for Adolescents/Young Adults who Use Substances 
  • Local speakers sharing relevant and update knowledge and experiences.

Please join us!

For these questions and technical assistance, contact the ME SUD Learning Community


Disentangling Co-Occurring Bipolar Disorder in Youth with OUD/SUD

TODAY, February 13, 2024 | 12:00-1:00PM

Speaker: Amy Yule, MD

Integrating Peer Support Roles into Interdisciplinary Teams for Substance Use Services

February 15, 2024 | 12:00-1:00PM

Speaker: Randy Morrison, MPPH, MPH, CIPSS

Alcohol Withdrawal for Nursing

February 23,2024 | 12:00-1:00PM

Speaker: Amelia Hersey, PA-C

Best and Promising Practice with Eric Steele, DO

February 28,2024 | 12:30-1:00PM

Speaker: Eric Steele, DO

New MaineCare Payment Initiatives to Expand Connections for Justice Impacted Individuals: Now and in the Future!

February 29,2024 | 12:00-1:00PM

Speakers: Courtney Pladsen, DNP, FNP, RN | Loretta Dutill | Katie Boucher

Online Self Paced Courses

Pressed for time?

Enroll in one of our convenient online self-paced courses today!

Enroll Today

Personal Recovery Story

Stories Restoring Hope: Malerie Lockhart

By Jamie Lovely

Malerie Lockhart works at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center (MCRRC) in Belfast through Volunteers of America as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC). The MCRRC provides treatment, education and vocational opportunities for incarcerated men with the hope of reducing recidivism.

Malerie believes people deserve more than just a second chance. “I’m a believer in second, third and fourth chances. I was given more chances than I probably deserved. It may take more than one, but it is worth a person finding a better life and better version of themselves.”

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Please visit the ME SUD Learning Community website for upcoming Events and Resources.
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