Treatment goals include stabilizing participants in a living situation in the community, engaging them in ending substance abuse, and preventing the re-emergence of substance abuse, re-hospitalization, or the use of emergency psychiatric services. Ultimately the goal is to have ACCESS patients assume greater responsibility for their lives in the community. Early research indicates that the program is more effective than traditional case management in treating this very complex illness.
Program candidates are 18 or older, have a history of resistance to psychiatric or substance abuse treatment, have failed to improve daily functioning despite treatment for mental illness and substance abuse, are frequent users of crisis services, emergency rooms, and hospital services, and have frequent contact with police or recent imprisonment for minor infractions due to psychiatric symptoms or substance abuse. Special consideration is given to those who are or have been recently homeless, or those who have recently resided in shelters or the county jail.
The ACCESS team is also part of a larger community collaborative to divert less serious criminal offenders from the jail setting into community-based treatment when they have co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse issues. One of only 17 jail-diversion programs in the country, the collaborative has received a national award of achievement from the GAINS Center, a national forum devoted to collecting and disseminating best practice in the treatment of adults within the justice system who have co-occurring disorders.
The ACCESS treatment team model includes research and evaluation by the Muskie Institute at the University of Southern Maine.
To learn more or to make a referral, please call (866) 857-6644 (toll-free) or (207) 761-6644, extension 2.