Archive for the ‘Women’s Issues’ Category


Maine’s addiction to painkillers

January 6, 2011

The amount of substance abuse treatment admissions for prescription pain reliever abuse* rose sharply – from 2.2% to 9.8% – between 1998 and 2008, a federal report recently showed us. And Maine made the very top of the list for having the highest percentage of residents being treated for painkiller addiction.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) report, 386 of every 100,000 residents age 12 or older were admitted for treatment of painkiller addiction in Maine in 2008 – more than eight times the national rate of 45 per 100,000 people.

It is interesting to note that the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) showed that pain reliever abuse increased about the same across all educational level and employment status categories. Women have shown higher percentages of pain reliever abuse, rising from 3.5% in 1998 to 13.3% in 2008. Men increased from 1.8% to 8.1% over the same period. Crossroads for Women has seen a steady increase in admissions for addiction to prescription drugs over the years, coming in second only to alcohol as clients’ primary drug of choice.

There has been some discussion this past week over why Maine is at the top of the painkiller treatment list in the media, online and amongst treatment professionals. In a Portland Press Herald article, Dr. Mark Publicker, an addiction medicine specialist at Mercy Recovery Center, talks about how the states with the higher rates of addiction are also the markets where OxyContin was first introduced. Some of the themes we have heard here at Crossroads include increased accessibility of prescription painkillers like OxyContin (both on the street and from doctors), the myth that “if a doctor prescribed it then it must be good for me” and the lack of money available for prevention and treatment of prescription drug abuse within the state of Maine.

Why do you think Maine tops the list for treatment for painkiller addiction? We’d love to hear from you.

Maine plagued by painkiller habit (Portland Press Herald article)
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Involving Abuse of Pain Relievers: 1998 and 2008 (study)
New study shows dramatic shifts in substance abuse treatment admissions among the states between 1998 and 2008 (SAMSHA press release)

*According to the study, prescription pain relievers refer to drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and other drugs with morphine-like effects; heroin and nonprescription methadone were excluded from the study.


Help Women Remember who They Wanted to be.

December 15, 2010

Beth struggled with alcoholism, bipolar disorder and other mental health troubles after leaving her corporate job. As Beth recalls, her life was filled with depression and a series of relapses that almost took her life.

Until she saw an advertisement in a local paper for Crossroads for Women™ that reminded her to remember who she wanted to be.

Are you inspired by our blog and the work that we do here in Maine? Are you willing to donate to Crossroads for Women this year so that we can help more women like Beth?

Beth has been a client at Kennebunk Counseling Center for more than a year now. For Beth, attending the intensive outpatient program (IOP), individual counseling sessions and receiving medication management services in one place has been “a beneficial and lifesaving experience.”

Crossroads for Women™ has managed to thrive in an otherwise gloomy economy. As a reader of our blog, you may have read about our successes throughout the year. Our board of directors and senior management team has worked together to trim excess costs, focusing on maintaining the high quality programs that help women like Beth remember who they wanted to be.

Crossroads for Women™ remains successful because we are always looking at the future of treatment. We hope that you will support our efforts, because we can’t do it without you.

We ask you to go to our secure donation site or simply send a check to Crossroads for Women™, attn: Lisa Merrill, 66 Pearl Street, Suite 326, Portland, ME 04101.

Thank you for your continued support by simply reading this blog!

Crossroads for Women is where you would send your mother, sister or daughter for outpatient or residential treatment for substance abuse and mental health so she can remember who she wanted to be. Your contribution will directly affect women, their families and the community around them and is tax deductible.


HRASM Helps Halfway House Clients Reshape Their Employment Outlook

November 22, 2010

Last month, the clients of our halfway house program were visited by a few caring human resources professionals involved with the Human Resources Association of Southern Maine (HRASM). They came in without judgment and ready to work.

Women from various Portland area companies, including Unum, Portland Public Library, Maine Eye Center and RM Davis, shared their expertise on everything from resume writing, to job searching, to presenting yourself to a potential employer over the course of three very informative educational sessions.

Clients learned how to address tricky subjects like employment gaps or past convictions due to their addiction. They were taught how to reshape their language when presenting themselves in an interview. They created resumes and worked with each other to assess their strengths, weaknesses and how to identify and break the barriers that were keeping them from getting a job.

In the end, both the clients and the human resources professionals were elated with the results of the workshop. Almost immediately, three clients were able to see positive results from the work they completed in the workshop via job leads and actually obtaining employment. The facilitators of the group loved working with the women and were inspired by their positive energy and eagerness to learn.

We are looking forward to continuing this partnership in the future!


New study shows teen girls more likely to see benefits of drinking and drug use

July 19, 2010

A recent analysis of the 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), showed some alarming trends with teenage girls’ perceptions of drinking alcohol and drug use. Some key findings included:

  • More than two-thirds of teen girls responded positively to the question “using drugs helps kids deal with problems at home” (an 11% increase from 2008)
  • More than half reported that drugs help teens forget their troubles (a 10% increase)
  • Stress was identified as a key factor leading to drinking, smoking and drug use among girls
  • More than three times as many young girls as boys reported having symptoms of depression in 2008
  • Teenage girls’ alcohol use increased by 11% (from 53% in 2008 to 59% in 2009), a significant increase when compared to teenage boys
  • Teen girls’ past year marijuana use significantly increased by 29%, while boys’ use of marijuana during the same time period had a much less dramatic 15% increase

So, what can parents do to prevent these increases in drug and alcohol use by their teenage girls?

Partnership President and CEO Steve Pasierb says, “Parents can help prevent alcohol and drug abuse by recognizing and addressing their daughters’ worries and stresses, by supporting her positive decisions and by taking immediate action if they suspect or know she has been experimenting with drugs and alcohol.”

Parents can also visit Time to Act to get step-by-step advice and sympathetic guidance from substance abuse experts, family therapists, scientists and fellow parents to help guide families through the process of understanding drug and alcohol use, confronting a child, setting boundaries and seeking outside help.

PATS was conducted for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and MetLife Foundation by the Roper Public Affairs Division of GfK Custom Research. FMI, visit