AUGUSTA — The state will provide up to $2 million to create and operate an overnight and walk-in facility in Kennebec County where people can get help with substance use disorder, which Gov. Janet Mills said will be the first of its kind in Maine.

The proposed facility would combine a traditional 10-bed withdrawal management program that would operate 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, with a walk-in “receiving center” that would operate daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Maine Shooting

Gov. Janet Mills speaks during a news conference in the aftermath of the mass shootings in Lewiston. Matt Rourke/Associated Press

At the walk-in center, individuals could come in, with no appointment, and receive triage services, screening and assessment, referrals for ongoing needs and a bridge to substance use disorder treatment services including individual and group therapy, wound care and medication management.

Mills announced the state funding commitment Monday, as part of a $3.5 million investment that will also expand treatment beds in Washington County.

Mills and the state Legislature had appropriated funding for substance use disorder treatment in either Kennebec or Washington county. But the governor said, in a news release, that given the urgent needs in both counties, she was committing funding to programs in both counties as part of her administration’s efforts to address the opioid epidemic.

“These investments, along with the collaborative work being done by our local partners, will help ensure that more Maine people suffering from substance use disorder can access the treatment they need to begin the lifelong path to recovery,” Mills said in a news release.


Legislative appropriations included $400,000 in one-time funding to develop a substance use crisis center in Kennebec County, and $1.6 million for the ongoing operations of the center.

The proposed center will be staffed by a multidisciplinary team, and at least 40% of the occupancy in the center, or four beds, will be available to people who have coverage through MaineCare.

House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, a sponsor of legislation to expand treatment services in Kennebec or Washington counties, said the state must ensure that detox is available to anyone who wants it, at the moment they are ready.

At the governor’s direction, the state Department of Health and Human Services identified additional existing funding to develop plans to expand substance use disorder treatment capacity in both Kennebec and Washington counties. DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Office of Behavioral Health Director Sarah Squirrell said the projects will advance models of care and help save lives in both counties.

The state is seeking proposals from entities to establish and operate the Kennebec County Substance Use Disorder Receiving Center, with proposals due by Jan. 12, 2024.

An estimated 716 people died of drug overdoses in Maine in 2022, setting a record for the third straight year as the opioid crisis continues.

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