Substance abuse awareness program at Universalist Church


On Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. an event titled “Substance Abuse in Our Community – Time for Action, Together We Can Make a Difference” will take place at the First Universalist Church of West Paris, located at 208 Main Street, West Paris. It is free and open to all. The planners emphasize that this is a gathering to help people understand substance abuse and, in particular, the opioid crisis in our communities in a safe, non-judgmental setting, with related information and links to resources for those affected by substance dependency, or for those who just want to better understand the issue because, the reality is, we are all affected by it in some way.
The idea to offer this community event actually began back in January when a group of church members from the First Universalist Church of West Paris formed a committee and called it the Future Planning Committee. In discussing how they could help the local community, committee members quickly discovered that one of their missions in reaching out would be to concentrate on the opioid crisis, which, like so many other communities, is grappling with substance abuse. After several meetings, and help from Healthy Oxford Hills on the format and resources for the event, a way to bring about a time for action, and how we could make a difference crystallized into the Sept. 24 gathering. September is National Recovery Awareness Month.
The afternoon will include a panel discussion by experts on the topic from prevention and treatment to recovery. The panelists are: Dr. Peter Leighton, MD, Bridgton Internal Medicine, who received a waiver in 2013 by the Drug Enforcement Agency to dispense Suboxone, and currently has approximately 80 patients in his practice who are opioid dependent; Sgt. Matt Baker of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Dept., will offer his view from a professional and personal experience; Jessica Dufour, MAAR (Maine Alliance for Addiction Recovery) Recovery Advocate, Vision Board Member, and also a Project Save ME Recovery Coach, will provide insight through her own experience and a message of hope; and Heather Jacoby, LADC, CCS, Common Ground Counseling, LLC will provide a clinician’s experience. There will be plenty of time factored in for questions during the panel, and later with individual participants, as well as resource materials. A performance by Davy Sturtevant, a local composer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer/producer, and storyteller will convey his message of addiction recovery through spoken word and music; the afternoon will conclude with a pizza party.
For more information, please contact Suzanne Dunham, 665-2967 or e-mail


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