Legislative Leaders Announce Bipartisan $4.8 Million Plan to Fight Drug Crisis

Legislative Leaders Announce Bipartisan $4.8 Million Plan to Fight Drug Crisis

Created on: Monday, December 14, 2015
Author: Maine Medical Association

The package of legislation was announced one day prior to the Dec. 10 deadline the Governor had set for calling out the National Guard if the leadership of the legislature did not act.  But in addition to providing funds for the hiring of the agents, the plan invests $2.4 million in treatment efforts over 18 months, including $1 million in funding for a new 10-bed detox unit in Bangor.  Also funded are increases to inpatient and outpatient treatment for the uninsured and to peer to peer support recovery centers across the state. The funding for the peer support programs will double the number of such programs that currently exist.

The package also includes $10,000 to establish new Project Hope programs in five new communities across the state.  At the press conference, Office John Gill of the Scarborough Police Department, site of Operation Hope, also spoke in support of the package.  Operation Hope (the Heroin-Opiate Prevention Effort) consists of specialized law enforcement training, public education and outreach, and treatment and assistance among other services.  The program served over 50 people in its first 50 days.

Details of the prevention and treatment portion of the package are as follows:

  • Fund a new 10 bed Detox unit.  Estimated cost is $1 million.

  • Increase access to residential treatment for uninsured.  Estimated cost is $600,000.

  • Increase access to Outpatient Services for the uninsured.  Estimated cost is $200,000.

  • At least double the number of peer support recovery centers throughout the state to ensure that people avoid relapse.  This effort will include funding for a coordinator housed at a statewide organization.  This position will coordinate the efforts of law enforcement, treatment, education and recovery programs to successfully replicate programs like the Hope Project in other parts of the state.   Estimated cost is $600,000.

  • Encourage effective prevention and education programming in schools.  Estimated cost:  minimal cost to incorporate existing programming in more schools across the state.

House Speaker Mark Eves closed the press conference by stating:

"Maine can and must do better by our families and communities.  We stand with law enforcement, treatment providers, and parents in saying enough is enough.  Over the next legislative session, we will work to implement these and other efforts to help keep our families and communities health and safe."

The plan announced Wednesday joins five bills approved by the Legislative Council last month that are also focused on addressing the drug crisis.


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