According to a press release by the Crisis & Counseling Centers, the OPTIONS (Overdose Prevention Through Intensive Outreach, Naloxone and Safety) initiative introduced by the Mills Administration to better assist those suffering from substance use disorders and to curb fatal opioid overdoses, Crisis & Counseling Centers has partnered with the Augusta Police Department to meet the goal of embedding licensed behavioral health clinicians within first responder services of Kennebec counties.

In conjunction with first responders, this OPTIONS liaison will be responsible for engaging in post-overdose follow up and helping with referrals; conducting proactive outreach to individuals and their families; delivering low-barrier harm reduction supports; and providing short-term counseling interventions when appropriate.

APD has partnered with Crisis & Counseling Centers for vital programming to serve public health needs in years past- experience that now lends itself to what has become a very able and organic partnership.

Heather Washburn, Director for Crisis & Counseling Centers says:

“We are grateful for the Augusta Police Department leadership and willingness to partner on this initiative with us. Our long history of partnership will undoubtedly strengthen our ability to begin connecting the community to the help they need now,”

Programming should be fully launched by the end of March 2021.
The Augusta Police Department has expressed optimism about their partnership with Crisis & Counseling Centers and believe it’s a step in the right direction toward combatting opioid misuse and overdose.

Augusta Chief of Police Jared Mills says

“The Augusta Police Department is so excited to partner with Crisis and Counseling and our OPTIONS Liaison to enhance our ability to provide the help to those in need. It has been a struggle at times in the past to connect our community members with these lifesaving resources and we are confident this program will make a difference,”

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