Focus Area 2023-2025: Prevention

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences data
  • OPTIONS Pro-Active Referrals
  • Adult Treatment Court

Part of the State of Maine’s primary prevention strategy is to reduce adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)

In an effort to minimize ACEs and support the people of Maine suffering from problematic substance use, the Office of Child and Family Services supports parents with substance use disorder in efforts to maintain custody of their children or achieving reunification whenever safely possible. During the 2022 fiscal year, 58% of all exits from State custody were to reunification while 24% were to adoption or permanency guardianship.

Source: Child Welfare Annual Report, Calendar Year 2022. Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services.

Despite these efforts, problematic substance use persists as a significant factor in the lives and relationships of families involved with child welfare. Since the year 2000 the percentage of removals where substance use was identified as a risk factor has been trending upwards at both the State and national levels. Due to the disproportionate impacts of the opioid epidemic experienced in Maine, child removals due to substance use has ranged from 9% higher than the national level to 19% higher than the national level since the year 2000. In Maine, the rate of substance use as a risk factor at removal peaked at 53% in 2015 and has been trending downward since that time despite a continued upward trend at the national level. (Strategy 8)

Source: Child Welfare Annual Report, Calendar Year 2022. Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services.

The law enforcement and criminal justice systems in Maine are increasing the opportunities for diversion and deflection to avoid trauma associated with the incarceration of a parent.

The Overdose Prevention Through Intensive Outreach, Naloxone, and Safety (OPTIONS) initiative

In Maine, (OPTIONS) initiative embeds licensed behavioral health clinicians into one law enforcement department in each of the State’s 16 counties. The Liaisons de-escalate behavioral health crises, engage in postoverdose follow up visits, and refer persons in need, as well as affected others, to community- and state-based services to address problematic substance use. Law enforcement officers have made 2,698 referrals (58%) to Liaisons since October of 2021 when this data began being collected. (Strategy 8.d.) Website:

Source: University of Maine, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.

Maine’s Adult Drug Treatment Courts

Maine’s adult treatment courts are speciality dockets for eligible individuals whose involvement with the criminal justice system has been fueled by a serious substance use disorder. Individuals are admitted to an adult treatment court after entering into a plea agreement and accepting responsibility for their conduct. All entry into adult treatment courts is voluntary. Individuals admitted receive intensive judicial oversight, a multi-disciplinary treatment team, comprehensive treatment plans that can include medicated assisted treatment, case management, frequent drug testing, sanctions for noncompliance, and incentives for compliance.

Participants who successfully complete the program receive the successful completion sentence in their plea agreement. Participants who are expelled or withdraw from the program will receive the unsuccessful outcome sentence in their plea agreement. (Strategy 8.d.)

Source: Maine Office of Behavioral Health

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention utilizes the Strategic Prevention Framework to design, execute, and appraise programs

The Strategic Prevention Framework is used to design, execute, and appraise programs and preventative interventions in communities. The process begins with Assessment to determine the community needs. It concludes with Evaluation to collect quantitative and qualitative data to confirm programming was effective or to make needed changes. At its center is sustainability and cultural competence to ensure substance use prevention efforts are as long-term and as relevant to their audiences as possible. 

To carry out this work using the Strategic Prevention framework, Maine CDC funds 20 local community partners who are working in communities to address primary and secondary prevention efforts. They form partnerships with their neighbors, educators, healthcare workers, law enforcement, local retailers and restaurant owners, and more, to come together to address community health issues. Learn more about what prevention work happens in your area by visiting their headquarters at You Are Prevention. (Strategy 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

Prevention Data Resources from the State and Federal CDC (Click to Expand)

Prevention Data Resources:
The SEOW: The State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup provides a dashboard of Maine substance use data to help track progress in reducing underage and high risk drinking, marijuana use, and prescription drug misuse. It takes data from law enforcement resources and departments such as the Department of Transportation and Bureau of Highway Safety, and the state surveys described below. (Strategy 4.b.)

MIYHS: The Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey is a statewide survey administered every two years since 2009. Its purpose is to quantify the health-related behaviors and attitudes of 5th through 12th graders by direct student survey. The survey collects information on student substance use, substance use risk factors, perceptions related to substances, and many other health factors. The survey is done through a collaborative partnership between Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Maine Department of Education. (Strategy 12)

BRFSS: The Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System is a national survey administered on an ongoing basis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) to adults in all 50 states and several districts and territories. The instrument collects data on adult risk behaviors, including substance use. (Strategy 12)