Substance Abuse Programs in Bangor Hurt by State Funding Problems 

For the past five years Manna in Bangor has offered residential substance abuse treatment to men and women, and less than a year ago they added a homeless shelter for men battling addiction. Now those programs are being hit hard by state budget problems.”The drugs controlled me. All day long I’d be hunting for drugs.”Lisa Maloon was a Certified Nursing Assistant, when she injured her back in 1999. She was prescribed narcotics for the pain, percocet and vicodin.At one point she took up to 20 pills a day looking to the streets for a supply. Eight years later she realized she was addicted.”What really woke me up was my daughter looked at me and said ‘Mom, that’s all you do is hunt for pills.’ I didn’t have time to be a mother to them, I didn’t have time to be a wife to my husband. My whole life consisted of finding pain pills and using them.”Lisa tried another treatment facility she says didn’t work, then she went to Manna’s Derek House and spent six months in their program.She says the difference here: this is a Faith based Christian program.Counselors say it really works.”Most residential facilities will have a 30 percent success rate. Here it’s more like 72 percent success rate.”Less than a year ago, Manna added the Elijah House for homeless men addicted to drugs or alcohol. But now those two programs are in jeopardy. Both rely on MaineCare for a quarter of their funding. Two weeks ago, Manna was notified that the state would stop all payments to them for three weeks, leaving nearly a $75,000 hole in their budget.”I have a slight trickle of sweat right now that I’m gonna have to say to somebody you can’t come back here tomorrow or have to close the doors.”Most of the funding for the programs comes from private donations, but those have been down recently.Still Manna Executive Director Bill Rae is appealing to the public for help now, to dig a little deeper into their pockets and make a donation.He says these are programs that help transform people in need, into people who have something to offer our community. Just take a look at Lisa, she’s been off drugs for close to two years now, will start working and volunteering here at Manna, and is enrolled in college to become a drug abuse counselor.”It’s like a big weight has been lifted off me that I’m not controlled by drugs anymore. I’m not controlled by anything. It’s just an awesome feeling.”If you would like to make a donation to Manna’s substance abuse programs, you can send them to: Manna Ministries 629 Main Street Bangor, Maine 04401 990-2870