Pen Bay Offers Community Safety and Overdose Awareness Trainings

April 17, 2024

Rockport, ME – Pen Bay Medical Center’s Retail Pharmacy and Community Health departments have partnered with two local organizations to bring community safety and overdose awareness trainings to the community.

The next free training will be held Monday, April 29, from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Strand Theatre in Rockland and is a collaboration between Pen Bay, the Coastal Recovery Community Center in Rockland and Penobscot Bay Community Health Partnerships in Rockport to educate students and the public on the importance of the life-saving medication naloxone (Narcan). The work is part of the hospital’s ongoing investment in the health and well-being of the community.

“I’m very proud of our teams and the work they’ve done to inform our communities about these important issues,” said Denise Needham, PharmD, president of Pen Bay and Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast. “The information shared at these events reflects our long-term commitment to the health of everyone in our communities.”

According to the Maine Drug Data Hub, there were 607 confirmed and suspected overdose fatalities in the state in 2023, down from 723 in 2022. Nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent data (CDC), there were 105,303 overdose deaths between October 2022 and October 2023.

The state of Maine also reported 2,042 “community reversals with naloxone,” when the medication was used by the public to counter the effects of drugs like heroin and prescription narcotics during an overdose. 

“These trainings have allowed us to distribute 407 doses of naloxone for free to adults in the community to help combat the opioid crisis, in addition to providing the medication for free at the hospital’s Retail Pharmacy,” said Chandler Blodgett, PharmD, ambulatory care services manager at Pen Bay, who also presents at the trainings. “The trainings alone won’t solve this issue, but with education we can help reduce the stigma of fear and judgement around the use of naloxone, teach how to use it and discuss the available community recovery resources.”

The trainings were introduced in the fall of 2019 by Kendra Emery, DO, who until recently led the local response to the opioid crisis, and Pen Bay Emergency Department Physician Bruce Lowry, MD.

In 2020, the trainings went virtual due to the pandemic and then regained their in-person component in early 2023. Dr. Emery stepped away last year when she began her current role as chief medical officer of the MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization.

Since then, 15 events have taken place at middle and high schools, businesses and community events in Knox and Waldo counties. “This been an overwhelmingly positive experience and we’ve received a tremendous amount of gratitude from the community,” Blodgett said.

For more information, call 207-301-3950.


About Pen Bay Medical Center
Pen Bay Medical Center is part of MaineHealth, a not-for-profit integrated health system consisting of nine local hospital systems, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and more than 1,600 employed and independent physicians working together through an Accountable Care Organization. With more than 23,000 employees, MaineHealth is the largest health system in northern New England and provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire. For more information, please visit