Opioid Symposium has Big Impact on Maine Clinicians

Sometimes, even a relatively simple request can have a large impact. One example of a simple request made to ORN was for a speaker to present at a medical symposium on treating opioid use disorders. Lisa Letourneau, MD, MPH, Associate Medical Director for Maine Quality Counts, needed a speaker for the Redington-Fairview General Hospital annual symposium that this year focused on the opioid crisis. It was one of several requests to ORN made by Dr. Letourneau, who has enthusiastically taken advantage of the free resources available through the initiative. ORN “certainly has been very helpful. They made it easy and pretty painless,” Dr. Letourneau said.

The hospital holds a symposium for its clinical staff each year, and this particular symposium was well- attended, an indication that the clinicians were deeply interested in learning more about treating patients with opioid use disorder, said Tonya Tavares, the Technical Transfer Specialist who worked on the request. “It’s a nice reminder that this is something that’s worth the time and investment,” Ms. Tavares said. “People are not giving up. They’re going so far above and beyond.” Maine has been hard hit by the opioid crisis, noted Dr. Letourneau, which likely drove up the interest in the symposium.

Dr. Letourneau has made several requests to ORN for technical assistance, and while this may have been one of the more straight-forward ones, it may have a long-lasting impact. The program not only included a presentation by Jeffrey Goldsmith, MD, DLFAPA, DFASAM, an Addiction Psychiatrist, it also included a heartfelt and candid talk by a physician who was in recovery. Dr. Letourneau is hopeful that with all the work being done in Maine and with more prescribers treating opioid use disorders with medications, the opioid epidemic will lessen.