June 11, 2019
“Pieces of Recovery: The Puzzle Project," a collection of stories of drug and alcohol abuse recovery, was recently displayed at the Maine State House.
Activist, artist and UNE graduate student Glenn Simpson created the project by traveling more than 2,000 miles, through all 16 counties in Maine, connecting with people and their families.
All the pieces of his puzzle, created by individuals in recovery, tell unique stories of hope, achievement, remembrance, courage and wisdom.
People in treatment centers, detox facilities, pre-release centers, recovery residences and resource centers shared personal stories of what recovery means to them.
The 354 puzzle pieces represent the number of drug poisoning deaths, traditionally referred to as drug overdoses, in Maine in 2018.
When all the pieces are assembled, a much larger story of the power of community, connection and creativity appears.
The puzzle was also featured recently on WGME during a segment on a rally that was held in Portland's Monument Square to raise awareness about the opioid crisis.
Simpson, who has been in recovery for 19 years, is working to earn a master’s degree in social work.
The project is part of UNE's Applied Arts and Social Justice Certificate, a one-of-a-kind program, housed in the School of Social Work, that gives students the opportunity to use art and creativity as they work toward their graduate degree.
The office of Maine Governor Janet Mills has asked that Simpson set up the display again at the Maine Opioid Summit on July 15 at the Augusta Civic Center.