Maine Cancels Contract with Drug Abuse Treatment Groups

By Cousins, Christopher | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), August 14, 2015 | Go to article overview

Maine Cancels Contract with Drug Abuse Treatment Groups


Cousins, Christopher, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


AUGUSTA, Maine -- The Maine Association of Substance Abuse Programs has been notified its contract with the state, which has stood for more than 13 years, will be canceled Dec. 31.

Ruth Blauer, the association's executive director, said cancellation of the $573,000 contract will essentially eliminate the services provided by her program and two others it oversees: the Maine Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse, which runs education programs to steer people away from drug addiction, and the Maine Alliance for Addiction Recovery, which helps people avoid relapses after they have quit using drugs.

The canceled contract will delete about 90 percent of the funding for Blauer's position, as well as the directors and support staffs for Maine Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse and Maine Alliance for Addiction Recovery.

"I'm running as fast as I can to find funding," Blauer said. "We are all committed to keeping these programs whole and are working toward funding them in one way or another, but it's not easy."

David Sorensen, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said Friday the contracts were canceled because the services are no longer needed.

"The department enters into and concludes contracts with providers on a regular basis and those decisions are based on the needs of the people we service, the performance of the providers and the department's needs," Sorensen said. "With [Maine Association of Substance Abuse Programs], there were five positions in the provider contract and we brought three of them in-house. We are no longer in need of the services of the other two."

Another department spokesman said Friday that the three state positions "are currently being developed." At issue is one out of nine contracts the state holds with MASAP.

"During its annual review of the agreement, the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services determined that it can meet its needs more efficiently with three limited-time state positions, which are currently being developed," read a statement from the department.

In addition to providing services directly to people receiving treatment for substance abuse, Maine Association of Substance Abuse Programs is the fiscal agent and provides human resources services for several staff members who report to the Maine Office of Substance Abuse, a unit of DHHS.

Blauer said DHHS has created its own substance abuse prevention team but that there is no organization other than the Maine Alliance for Addiction Recovery working with recovering addicts.

"I can see their argument in the prevention piece but there's no way they can say that [Maine Alliance for Addiction Recovery] is redundant," Blauer said. …

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