Skip to main content

SMHC Receives National Grant to Address Opioid Use Disorders

October 31, 2018

Southern Maine Health Care was named the recipient of a Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Planning grant through the Health Resources & Services Administration. The purpose of this grant is to support treatment for and prevention of substance use disorder, including opioid use disorder, in rural counties at the highest risk for substance use disorder.

SMHC was one of only 95 grant awardees nationwide, and received $200,000 in support of the Rural York County Opioid Planning Project. The grant period began on Sept. 30, 2018, and will end on Sept. 29, 2019.

"In 2016, York County recorded the highest rate of naloxone administrations of any public health district in the state and in 2017, 20 percent of overdoses and 19 percent of opioid deaths in Maine were in York County." said Jessika Morin, MD, Medical Director of the SMHC Integrated Medication-Assisted Treatment Program. "This grant provides funds to further address these issues affecting so many in York County and enhance the work underway through our IMAT Program."

The IMAT program provides patients with access to acute and long-term treatment for Opioid Use Disorder throughout the MaineHealth system. IMAT combines medication and behavioral health therapy and ensures that patients who need intensive services receive care by providers with special addiction training. Once stable and healthy, patients receive their IMAT treatment from their primary care providers and integrated behavioral health clinicians.

"We are very excited to be leading the way in addressing these issues in York County," said SMHC CEO Nate Howell.  "This work will build upon the strong partnership that exists today between Southern Maine Health Care, MaineHealth and Maine Behavioral Healthcare, and improve the collaboration with our project partners. We are dedicated to improving access to care in our communities and see this collaborative work as another big step in addressing these needs."

The planning grant will be used to bring together a consortium of community organizations to develop a strategic plan to identify opportunities and gaps in opioid use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery and support services offered. These members include SMHC, Maine Behavioral Healthcare, Nasson Health Care (affiliated with York County Community Action Corporation), Frannie Peabody Center, the Kennebunk Police Department, and North East Mobile Health Services

York County faces a complex set of challenges, including a limited job market; comparatively high poverty rate; social isolation; rural transportation challenges; and geographic vulnerability to drug trafficking.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of an award totaling $200,000. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

About Southern Maine Health Care
Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC) is a national award-winning healthcare system with a non-profit mission "to improve the health and health care of the communities we serve."  SMHC includes a full service, acute care medical center in Biddeford, with York County’s only inpatient mental health unit. Emergency care, surgical services, and diagnostic and therapy services are available at SMHC’s Medical Centers in Biddeford and Sanford. SMHC offers primary care and multi-specialty physician services, diagnostic and therapy services, and Walk-In Care centers in various York County communities including Biddeford, Kennebunk, Saco, Sanford and Waterboro. SMHC is Joint Commission accredited and has been recognized for quality excellence by numerous outside organizations. To learn more about SMHC and SMHC providers, visit,, or

Media Contact
Allison Kenty, Director, Communications & Public Affairs
(207) 283-7233

News from Around MaineHealth

View All
SMHC Names Caregiver of the Year
Stacy Merrill has been named Southern Maine Health Care’s 2020 Caregiver of the Year. Merrill is a valuable member of the SMHC team and emanates SMHC’s core values of patient centered, respect, integrity, excellence, ownership and innovation.
MaineHealth Local Hospital Systems Recognized for Tobacco-Free Achievements
Twelve hospitals and affiliates celebrated for leadership through annual Gold Star Standards of Excellence program.

Southern Maine Health Care puts new visitation restrictions in place in response to COVID-19
The new rules are effective Wednesday, November 18 for Southern Maine Health Care locations and medical practices. They are intended to safeguard patients, visitors and care team members during the ongoing pandemic.
Southern Maine Health Care opens COVID-19 Testing Site in Waterboro
The site at 10 Goodall Drive in East Waterboro will open on Nov. 11 for COVID-19 testing for patients without symptoms.
MaineHealth’s Access to Care team connects Mainers with coverage during 2021 Open Enrollment
MaineHealth’s Access to Care team is prepared to assist and educate Mainers in shopping for health insurance plans during the Open Enrollment period, which runs November 1 through December 15.
MaineHealth taps Boston Children’s physician with strong information technology background to lead its IT department
Daniel J. Nigrin, MD, is a pediatric endocrinologist who was drawn to the important role that technology plays in delivering world-class health care.
Southern Maine Health Care and Maine Behavioral Healthcare open new behavioral health units in Sanford
The project triples the number of short-stay behavioral health beds in York County.
MaineHealth Earns 2020 CHIME Digital Health Most Wired Recognition
The CHIME Digital Health Most Wired program conducts an annual survey to assess how effectively healthcare organizations apply core and advanced technologies into their clinical and business programs to improve health and care in their communities.
SMHC Offering Free Mammograms for Women Without Insurance in October
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC) is offering free mammograms to women in the community age 40 or older without active breast problems who do not have insurance.
SMHC Expands Spiritual and Pastoral Care Services and Welcomes Director, Chaplain Shelly Snow
Snow to oversee the expansion of spiritual and pastoral care services for SMHC’s patients, visitors, care team and community.