New Horizons Detox Center in Hampden has temporarily closed because of a staffing shortage. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

One of the few drug and alcohol detoxification centers outside of the Portland area is closed for the foreseeable future due to staffing shortages.

New Horizons Detox Center, a 10-bed facility in Hampden, closed last Saturday due to concerns about not having enough staff to safely watch over patients, said Suzanne Farley, the executive director of Wellspring Inc., which operates New Horizons.

The closure comes as drug overdose deaths in Penobscot County have been on the rise this year, and as health care facilities across the state are struggling to stay fully staffed.

New Horizons, which opened in 2018 and is licensed as a medical detox facility, helps people who are withdrawing from drugs and alcohol, with staff providing help so they can withdraw safely and then enter recovery. Clients can arrive after being referred from local emergency rooms, or show up at the facility on their own.

New Horizons was slated to reopen Thursday after closing last weekend, but questions about adequate staffing numbers remained, so it will remain closed until it can ensure a safe ratio of staff to clients, Farley said.

The center was at 70 percent occupancy when it closed. Clients have been released into the care of family members or area shelters, Farley said.

A number of people have applied for staffing positions in recent days, and the center will train them this week and next in the hopes of reopening the center soon, Farley said. She anticipates that New Horizons could reopen sometime in early November.

There are eight facilities providing detoxification services within 100 miles of Bangor, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

After New Horizons, the next closest detox facility is MaineGeneral Intensive Outpatient program in Waterville.

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.