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September 28, 2020

In September Podcast, King Discusses Coronavirus Impacts on Substance Use and Recovery Efforts

Northern Light Mercy Hospital, Western Maine Addiction Recovery Initiative Officials join Senator King in September Edition of Inside Maine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Office of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the September edition of Senator King’s “Inside Maine” podcast, focusing on recovery from substance use disorders (SUDs) amid the coronavirus pandemic. First, Melissa Skahan, Vice President of Mission Integration for Northern Light Mercy Hospital in Portland joins Senator King to discuss the McAuley Residence Center’s approach to combatting the substance use epidemic amid the coronavirus crisis. Then, Jennifer Small and Sergeant Matt Baker, board members of the Western Maine Addiction Recovery Institute (WMARI) in Oxford County join Senator King for the second segment to discuss the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on recovery efforts in rural Western Maine.

“Even as the coronavirus pandemic halts most in-person contact, it’s important to remember that no one is going through this stress and uncertainty alone. Substance use is one of the most pressing issues facing Maine and the country; to combat this crisis and best help those who are suffering, we need to ensure that everyone is still getting the resources they need,” said Senator King. “I thank Melissa, Jennifer, Matt for joining me to discuss ways that organizations in Maine can continue safely connecting with those in recovery throughout the pandemic.”

Senator King has made combating the opioid crisis one of his top priorities in Washington, both before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and since its initial spread across the country. Since the pandemic has separated Americans from their loved ones and made it more difficult to access resources, Senator King has worked to connect with Maine people virtually and raise awareness about resources available to for support. Earlier this month, Senator King introduced a resolution with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) designating September National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. In May, he participated in a video teleconference with Maine Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services to connect with their staff that work with Maine’s behavioral health organizations and help those coping with substance use disorders and mental health challenges. To encourage additional supports, Senators King and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) led a group of 20 Senators in a letter to Senate leadership to call for increased investments in mental and behavioral health in future coronavirus relief legislation. Senator King voted for the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act in 2018, sweeping opioid legislation which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and included several King-backed provisions to help Maine families and communities affected by the opioid crisis. The legislation was the result of months of bipartisan hearings and discussions on the opioid crisis. 

The “Inside Maine Podcast with Senator Angus King” is a 30-minute program that aims to help keep Maine people informed about issues of the day, how they affect life in the state, and how they factor into Senator King’s work as one of two independents in the U.S. Senate. Senator King’s podcast builds on his existing radio show that airs on Newsradio WGAN in Portland, Maine between 10 and 11 a.m. on almost every last Saturday of the month. The link to the September podcast can be found HERE. 

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