State’s first opioid response director to be LRSAC speaker

Editor's Note: The print edition incorrectly identified the meeting date as March 12. The LRSAC meeting is Thursday, March 14. The News apologizes for the mistake.

Gordon Smith, Opioid Response Director

Maine’s first Opioid Response Director, Gordon Smith, will be the guest speaker at the Lakes Region Substance Awareness Coalition meeting on Thursday, March 14 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

The meeting is open to the public, and will be held at the Bridgton Municipal Complex downstairs meeting room.

This will be a great opportunity for all those in the Lake Region communities who are working to address the opioid crisis, and for those in the community who want to learn more about what’s being done and planned for going forward, at both the state and local levels.

“The meeting format will be a facilitated dialogue. Participants are invited to come with questions and suggestions for Mr. Smith and the coalition,” said Dani Mooney, LRSAC director. “We hope to learn more about what state government can and will do and share how local communities can and will help to prevent a host of tragic incidents we hear about all too often related to the opioid crisis.”

Representatives from the following community sectors are being sought to contribute their voices to the conversation: business, civic, education, faith, government, healthcare, judicial, law enforcement, media, nonprofit, parent/family, recovery, treatment, and youth. Come share your perspective and listen together as a community.

Gordon Smith served as executive vice president of the Maine Medical Association, the largest physician organization in the state, with over 3,600 physicians, students and residents.

Smith, Esq., graduated from the University of Maine with highest distinction in 1973 and from the Boston College Law School, magna cum laude, in 1976.  A native of Winthrop, Smith was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Maine in 1976 and in the federal courts in 1978. After four years of private practice in Augusta, he joined the Maine Medical Association as General Counsel in 1981.  

He is a past chairman of the American Society of State Medical Association Counsel, a nationwide group of 140 attorneys representing medical associations.  

Smith is also a member of the Board of the Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Onpoint Health Data and the Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership.  

Maine Governor Janet Mills appointed Smith as the state’s first director of opioid response. The position, which makes good on a campaign promise, will be housed within the new Office of Innovation and the Future. Smith’s role will be to marshal all state resources to combat an epidemic that has led to at least 1,630 drug overdose deaths in the past five years.

“History will note that we have lost an entire generation of people to the opioid epidemic and that we have simply failed to address this preventable disease. It is time to mobilize state government to stem the tide of this deadly epidemic,” said Gov. Mills in a statement published in Maine Biz. “Gordon Smith is an experienced, well-respected, and highly-qualified public health expert. I have complete confidence in his ability to work across departments and knock down the silos that prevent us from working to combat this crisis and protect Maine families.”

LRSAC works to facilitate community action, create meaningful strategic partnerships, and recognize progress toward achieving community-wide prevention, treatment, policy and enforcement goals to help stem the tide of opioid tragedies. You can help! LRSAC wants to hear from you if you have an idea or a success story to share! Follow them on Facebook at LRSACMaine, visit the website at lrsacmaine.org, send an e-mail at lrsacoalition@gmail.com, call 803-9987 or attend a regularly scheduled monthly meeting held the second Thursday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Bridgton Municipal Complex, downstairs.

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