In January, the Maine House and Senate passed a groundbreaking bill to tackle the epidemic of drug overdoses and addiction in the state.
How The $3.7M For Addiction Treatment And Overdose Is Divided
While the bill establishes that $1.2 million will fund 10 positions for drug investigators in the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, more attention is being focused on the fact that $2.5 million will specifically target addiction treatment, with $900,000 being used to establish and operate a drug detoxification within the state. Additional funds will be used to fund projects operated by jails and local police departments to connect drug users with treatment and recovery programs as an alternative to incarceration.
The $2.5 million in the bill earmarked for addiction treatment will be drawn directly from the Medical Uses of Marijuana Fund, which is funded from fees charged to medical marijuana dispensaries and state-licensed caregivers. These funds are certainly making many within the addiction treatment industry to take notice.
Critics Of Maine’s Addiction Bill
Although the bill had bipartisan support, there has been criticism over certain elements of it. Some believe that Maine’s addiction problem is far greater than many realize. Thus, the amount provided in the bill will not be sufficient to make a substantial dent in the growing problem. Others have complained that the bill contains no specific funding to expand medication-assisted treatment using drugs like methadone and buprenorphine. Because many believe that medication-assisted treatment is the most effective option for addicts, this “oversight” in the bill has created substantial controversy with some within the addiction community.
What Still Needs To Be Done
While Maine is taking proactive steps to address the devastating effects of drugs within their state, other fundamental steps need to be taken there and throughout the United States. These include:
- Increasing evidence-based prevention and education within schools.
- The development of more recovery support systems in local communities.
- Help individuals in recovery reclaim their lives after addiction by assisting them in finding education and/or employment opportunities.
- Address issues that create an unhealthy stigma for those who suffer from addiction.
- Ongoing efforts to identify and fill holes in getting addicts the help they need.
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