HAMPDEN – It’s the only substance use service of its kind in the area, and now a Hampden facility is making sure northern and eastern Mainers don’t have to go to Portland for care.
New Horizons Detox Center has been helping people in the greater Bangor area detox from alcohol or opioids for nearly two years, and now it’s expanding the service area to people in Downeast and northern Maine.
“It really means that people throughout Maine now have additional options besides going straight to Portland to get detox services,” said Suzanne Farley, the executive director for Wellspring, Inc.
The Hampden center, run by Wellspring, is expanding its license from a social model detox center to medically managed detox.
Farley said basically that means patients no longer have to get cleared by an emergency room before going to New Horizons.
“That is a real barrier for a lot of people to have to go wait in the emergency room for four, five hours whatever it takes to get them cleared,” said Farley.
The license change also means they can get MaineCare revenue. And New Horizons has medical staff from Penobscot Community Health Care around the clock to provide counseling and care for withdrawal symptoms.
Medical personnel at PCHC said this facility is so important because detoxing can be potentially life-threatening and because it’s step No. 1 for some people seeking long-term care.
“Often people misunderstand detoxification as the end of that process but it really is just the beginning … a detox center is a place that people seek out because they have not been able to do this sort of thing on their own,” said Dr. Noah Nesin, medical director for New Horizons Detox Center and chief medical officer for PCHC.
Farley said on an average day they have four or five patients at the 10-bed facility.
With these changes making it easier for people outside greater Bangor to use the facility, she’s hoping to get the word out to doctors.
“They’re hesitant to even ask their patients if they have an issue with alcohol or opiates or other substances because they don’t know what to do if the answer is yes,” she said.
Farley said to call ahead to make sure there’s a bed available. For more information, call Wellspring at 941-1612.