WASHINGTON – With opioid-related overdoses linked to nearly 2,700 deaths in Maine between 2010 and 2019, and tens of thousands of Maine residents living with chronic addiction, opioid usage remains a serious health emergency there.

To help combat its opioid epidemic, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $2,093,963 in incremental funding to the Maine Department of Labor to train and employ participants for jobs to address the opioid crisis’ local workforce impacts. The award will help serve individuals in Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Waldo, Washington and York counties.  

Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, the award is the third and final allocation of a $6,281,891 million National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant awarded to the state in February 2020 to create temporary disaster-relief employment to address the crisis. The funding will also support employment and training services for people directly impacted by the crisis to prepare them for self-sustaining jobs.

Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Opioid Disaster Recovery Dislocated Worker Grants fund temporary employment opportunities in peer recovery positions and services to reintegrate workers affected by the opioid crisis back into the workforce.

In October 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates opioids were involved in 49,860 overdose deaths in 2019, accounting for 70.6 percent of all drug overdose deaths.

Learn more from the National Institute on Drug Abuse about overdose deaths in Maine.

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