Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC), the parent organization of Seaport Community Health Center in Belfast and Winterport Community Health Center, has been awarded a $1 million federal grant to combat the opioid crisis in Waldo County.

The Rural Communities Opioid Response Program Implementation Grant, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will be used in?Waldo County for provider education, anti-stigma and informative events, expansion of the medication-assisted treatment program in Winterport, and a rapid-access, low-barrier “bridge clinic” in Belfast.

Waldo County is listed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as 135th among counties in the nation vulnerable to the spread of HIV from injection drug use. Maine lost 360 residents to opioid overdoses in 2017, according to the CDC.

PCHC will be working with a local consortium, including: Waldo County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center, Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast, Volunteers of America Northern New England, and Maine Health and Waldo County General Hospital.

The funding is meant to allow these organizations to expand capacity for a variety of support services including transportation, childcare, housing assistance, prescription assistance and public health nursing.