Andy Allen grew up in a loving family. Because of a degenerative disk disease, Andy was prescribed opioids to help him cope with chronic pain. Over the course of 10 years he used increasing amounts of the narcotic, which Andy got through prescriptions and on the street. But his life gradually fell apart.
After trying to stop by himself, Andy reached out to Maine Medical Center for help and was referred to the IMAT (Integrated Medication Assisted Treatment) program in Biddeford. The IMAT program delivers intensive outpatient therapy (known as the hub) from Maine Behavioral Healthcare, followed by ongoing treatment (called the spoke) from local primary care practices like SMHC Family Medicine in Saco. “It’s a choice to live a better life but you need support and structure to keep on track,” said Andy. “I was treated with compassion and respect, which isn’t something you feel as an addict. They saved my life and I am extremely grateful.”
Since getting into the program, Andy has a full-time job and is getting back to activities he used to enjoy, like weight lifting.
“Coming in to MBH (Maine Behavioral Healthcare), I thought all I needed was meds. The staff there realized I had other treatment needs,” Allen said. “The IMAT hub connected me with primary care for the first time in years. They create a family atmosphere, and you need that kind of support system for recovery. I’m a better person for it.”