Northern Lighthouse sets up drug recovery effort

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — After months of work, The Northern Lighthouse, a nonprofit organization that has been providing a wide range of mental health services for over 15 years, has established its first drug treatment and recovery program in Aroostook County and will offer provider training Sept. 6 and 7 in Presque Isle.

Helping make this effort a reality, Machias Savings Bank has awarded The Northern Lighthouse a $5,000 grant to train providers.

“We see signs of this disease everywhere in our communities, from the streets to the hospital to the obituaries,” explained Tim Goff, branch manager of Machias Savings Bank in Presque Isle. “We can’t stand idly by waiting for a solution.  We need local treatment options so we can intervene earlier, help prevent relapses and keep our young people living where they want to be — with their families and friends.”

Goff said the Lighthouse will use the grant funds to train local providers in the evidence-based practice of The Matrix Model, an integrative, highly structured approach to IOP (intensive outpatient therapy). This model is proven effective in treating a wide range of substance use disorders, and has been adopted, supported and promoted by a numerous treatment providers across the country including Hazleden and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

This initiative, in partnership with CARY Medical Center, will offer low-cost training to professionals, and is open to all providers interested in increasing their skill set in treating co-occurring and substance use disorders.

Organizers hope that by increasing services at the local level, more families will stay intact, more people with substance use disorders will receive timely treatment, shame and stigma will be reduced, and more people will be able to stay in their communities, decreasing outmigration and the fears of returning home.

“And it’s important to recognize that it’s more than simply a drug issue,” Goff emphasized. “It’s also a workforce issue, a population issue, and an issue of life or death.  We believe this training is a critical step toward addressing this epidemic, and helping rebuild our communities and people’s lives.”

This program aims to benefit not only those struggling with substance use disorders, but also their affected others. Support will include but will not be limited to intensive outpatient therapy, anxiety and depression groups for affected children; a family addiction psychoeducational group; individual substance abuse counseling; co-occurring mental health and substance abuse treatment; and women’s specific options to meet the unique needs of women in recovery.

For information about enrolling in the Matrix training, contact Lacey Sawyer at the Northern Lighthouse at (207) 540-1522 or

The Northern Lighthouse has five facilities in Caribou, Mars Hill, Houlton, Waterville and Presque Isle.

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