April 2024

Dear Friends,

April has arrived and despite today's weather, Spring is coming soon. This has been a time of much hope for the recovery community centers throughout Maine. Most centers receive funding from the State to help people in our communities recover from addiction. The Governor made a commitment to addressing the opioid crisis and many resources have been invested. For the first time in many years, we are seeing a decline in the number of overdose deaths. There are still far too many, but we know that recovery community centers are a large part of the solution. Among the recovery community centers in Maine, we served over 16,000 unique individuals through support groups and recovery coaching and other services. It's exciting that we have worked together through the Recovery Hub network to collect solid data and demonstrate the meaningful difference that our services are making. We are not only saving lives, but we are also helping people find recovery, purpose and meaning. Just as each person’s active addiction affects everyone around them, each person who gets well makes a positive impact on their friends’ and family’s lives and in their communities.
As all the recovery community centers await word on funding for the next two years from the State, we have been cautioned that there will not be enough funding to support the good work that is going on. That is why it is so critical that we raise our collective voices and contact our legislators and the appropriations committee (see below) to advocate for funding LD1714, which creates a sustainable funding source for recovery community centers in Maine from a portion of the tax revenue from the sales of recreation marijuana. Please call or write to your legislators today to tell them how critical the need is and ask for their support and help in having the appropriations committee fund LD 1714. Lives are depending on it. 

Leslie Clark
Executive Director
Recovery Needs Your Voice: LD1714 
Voices of recovery rang out in Augusta on February 22nd to support funding of LD1714, Act to Create a Sustainable Funding Source for Recovery Community Centers, and we need to continue to push for its funding. PRCC and other centers turned out in force to share the importance and success of peer recovery support services. Our recovery movement is organized to spread hope, advocate for resources, and save lives. With anticipated shortages to fund all the recovery community centers in Maine, it is even more imperative that the recovery community, including our friends, families, and allies, push for its funding. This Bill passed unanimously out of the taxation committee – Republicans and Democrats alike agree that recovery support is essential. 

LD 1714 seeks to fund Recovery Community Centers by utilizing 12% of Maine's adult use cannabis tax revenue. Based on 2022 tax numbers, that would amount to roughly $6 million dollars. Click the link below to send letters to the appropriations committee to support and fund LD 1714. 

LD 1714 an Act to Create a Sustainable Funding Source for Recovery, is now in Appropriations for consideration. Recovery needs as many voices as possible. Help support and fund LD 1714 by writing into representatives. Click the link below for full instructions on how to support this legislation. 

Maine Recovery Hub
Annual Conference 

The annual Maine Recovery community center conference was held on March 27th and 28th in Portland. Centers from around the state gathered at the Portland Sheraton Inn at Sable Oaks to discuss best practices in recovery support and achievements from the last year. Over the course of two days, managers heard from keynote speakers, Dr. Felecia Pullen from The Pillars in Harlem, and Kimberly Govak and Hannah Lowry from FAVOR/Faces and Voices of Recovery. Gordon Smith from the Governor’s Office and Michael Freysinger from the Office of Behavioral Health shared updates from the State on Thursday evening and reflected on the growth and positive impact of the recovery community centers throughout Maine. 

Gathered under the hope and excitement of spring, our annual conference provides a platform for reflection, celebration, and inspiration within our recovery community. There was a special presentation of the CAPRSS (Counsel on Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services) Accreditation certificate to PRCC. This honor was the accumulation of many people’s hard work and dedication.  
Dr. Felecia Pullen presents to the Maine Recovery Hub Conference. Dr. Pullen is the founder, President & CEO of The PILLARS in Harlem.
Executive Director, Leslie Clark, State of Maine Director of Opioid Response, Gordon Smith and State of Maine Recovery Manager Michael Freysinger.
PRCC Receives
National Accreditation

The mission of CAPRSS (Council for Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services) is to identify and support excellence in the delivery of peer recovery support services and other activities by recovery community organizations (RCOs) and qualifying programs. 

“Accreditation is a huge accomplishment and synonymous with excellence, demonstrating that PRCC meets the highest standards in providing peer recovery support as a recovery community organization,” says Leslie Clark, Executive Director. “As Maine’s recovery hub, PRCC is proud to achieve this accomplishment and to provide support to other recovery community centers in Maine.” 
Achieving accreditation is a process of rigorous internal focus, and engaging with CAPRSS staff, Faces and Voices of Recovery, peer mentors, and peer-reviewed evaluation. During this multiyear path, PRCC worked hard to meet CAPRSS’s accreditation standards, providing written materials and culminating with a two-day team site visit that included interviews with members, staff, volunteers, board, and community participants. CAPRSS standards require excellence in areas relating to strategic management and innovation; members, volunteers and staff as active participants and leaders; diverse programming, strong business, and financial literacy; and engagement in advocacy and public education. 

FAVOR (Faces & Voices of Recovery) awarded PRCC in April 2024 by presenting a certificate at the Annual RCC conference in Portland. 
PRCC Welcomes New Center Manager: Kristen Beith

PRCC is delighted to introduce Kristen Beith, who accepted the position of Center Manager in February. Kristen brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for the mission of Recovery Community Centers. Most recently, Kristen worked at Spring Harbor Hospital, and before that she was at Community Counseling Center and Sweetser. Kristen is deeply committed to peer recovery support and is an active and dedicated member of Portland's recovery community. 
DA’s Office Hosts Tour of Support Services 

PRCC was honored to participate in and host District Attorney Sartoris' "Shifting Toward Wellness Tour." An event made possible by local organizations and the Unhoused Diversion Program. 

The Cumberland County District Attorney, Jackie Sartoris coordinated a group of officials who all rode on a bus together and visited various organizations as part of the Unhoused Diversion Program. The group consisted of organizations including PRCC, Milestone, Preble Street, Homeless Services Center, Through These Doors, Opportunity Alliance, Spurwink and more. 
The tour group began at PRCC for coffee and pastries where staff and volunteers set up a beautiful spread and welcomed visitors. Opening remarks from DA Sartoris, Portland Police Behavioral Health Liaison, Bill Burns, Division Chief with the Portland Fire Department, Sean Donaghue and Executive Director of Community Housing of Maine, Cullen Ryan, set the tone for the day, explaining the current challenges while also emphasizing the opportunities to make positive changes and find solutions as a community. 

The tour's purpose was for the group of 40 attendees to know about the resources accessible to people experiencing homelessness. Stops included: The Homeless Services Center located on Riverside Street, Spurwink’s Living Room Crisis Center, Preble Street’s Elena’s Way Wellness Shelter, and Milestone Recovery’s new location. At Milestone, the group visited the new Recovery Building on Andover Road in Portland. Milestone’s location off India Street currently has 16 detox beds in a limited space. The new facility, bordering Westbrook, will nearly double bed availability. 

The tour wrapped up back at PRCC. The group enjoyed lunch and a presentation by Director of PRCC’s Recovery Hub, Nicole Proctor, who spoke about recovery center growth and impact throughout the state. PRCC member and volunteer Recovery Coach, Ryan, shared his inspiring personal story about his recovery and took questions from audience members. DA Sartoris said she hopes to do another tour with more participants in the fall, noting that many lawmakers could not be present Friday as they were in session in Augusta.  

See WMTW’s coverage of the day: here

Pictured above: Sgt. Chris Mitchell from the Community Policing Unit at the Portland Police Department, Cumberland County District Attorney Jacqueline Sartoris, and Cullen Ryan from Community Housing of Maine.
World Recovery Cafe

The first World Recovery Cafe of 2024 kicked off in March with monthly World Cafes. This project takes PRCC’s DEI work deeper, and each World Cafe event is with an affinity group of people in recovery who are often underrepresented. There are 10 World Cafe events planned at PRCC, each followed by a weekly series of breakfast recovery meetings that promote conversations and increased understanding and connection. In March, people in recovery who identify as LGBTQIA+ participated in an afternoon World Cafe discussing the unique barriers and opportunities that they face in recovery and beginning to map out ideas for solutions.

The mission of the WRC Project is to connect with underrepresented groups in recovery and honor the role food has in identity and recovery. Participants engage in meaningful dialog to shape the future of our community, while sharing a meal together.

“We are so excited for the second World Recovery Cafe series in April, which will be focused on Veterans in recovery. There will be 4 total events, starting Sunday April 7th and moving into 3 recovery cafes on Friday mornings. The veterans in our community have already gathered excitement with a new recovery meeting. I am happy to be a part of this work and hear the ideas our veterans have to offer.” says Han Ferguson, Outreach Coordinator for the WRC Project. 

These events are held in Portland but open to anyone statewide in recovery who identifies with an affinity group and would like to attend. 

If you are a Veteran in recovery, please join us for the World Cafe event on Sunday April 7 from 12-3 pm. Join the conversation and enjoy a meal together. Your voice matters!

For the Veterans in Recovery World Cafe, RSVP by Friday, April 5th at 10am. You can also access the interest form here: https://forms.office.com/r/BwsV6V8LLg   
Tobacco & Nicotine
Recovery Project 

PRCC is proud to have received a grant through MaineHealth & the Center for Tobacco Independence in an initiative to support tobacco recovery at Recovery Community Centers. Last year, PRCC held a series of focus groups to learn more about what people in recovery thought about prevention strategies. While the responses were diverse, the one thing that everyone agreed about what that people in recovery need more resources and information. PRCC, the BARN, and Inspire will embark on a pilot demonstration project to respond and introduce information and materials tailored to people in recovery from SUD. The project will help raise awareness among people in recovery from substance use who are in precontemplation or contemplation stages of change regarding nicotine use. This project will provide education and support to those curious about nicotine or tobacco use. PRCC, BARN and INSPIRE will work in collaboration with the Maine QuitLink to provide coaching and tools for members. We look forward to sharing more and expanding this work throughout the state.

What's New
Check out what happening around the state this month!
Building Recovery Community Throughout Maine

This newsletter allows us to connect with you, our Maine recovery community. Whether you're a person in recovery, family member, or ally, you are part of the solution to addiction. Published on a regular basis and sent via email, this newsletter provides updates and gives you an opportunity to help support recovery and spread the message of hope throughout the state of Maine. To learn more about PRCC, whose programs are funded in part by the Maine Department of Health & Human Services, visit our website. Please send any feedback or information you'd like us to include to newsletter@portlandrecovery.org.