Addiction Policy News

NNESAM Supports Legislation to Improve Access to Addiction Treatment and Harm Reduction Measures

April 20, 2021

On April 20, the Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine (NNESAM) submitted a letter in support of both LD 663 and LD 994. LD 663 would expand access to addiction treatment for individuals who are incarcerated by establishing a comprehensive addiction treatment program in the state’s correctional facilities, while LD 994 would decriminalize possession of hypodermic apparatuses and allow for more robust harm reduction services throughout the state. 

 

NNESAM’s letter focused on the bills’ respective benefits. LD 663’s comprehensive addiction treatment program in correctional facilities would save lives.  The program would include screening and assessment for substance use disorders (SUD), the full range of FDA-approved medications for addiction treatment (MAT), counseling, and other services.  MAT, when used as part of a comprehensive treatment approach, continues to accrue evidence for its effectiveness in engaging and retaining patients in treatment, reducing withdrawal and craving symptoms, reducing opioid misuse, and reducing other related health and social problems, such as risk of infectious diseases. More specifically, MAT can help reduce drug overdose deaths and infectious disease transmission both inside jails and prisons and in the community.  With LD 994’s enactment, Maine would empower its pharmacies, syringe service programs, and community-based harm reduction organizations to better prevent drug overdoses and the spread of infectious diseases associated with injection drug use, such as HIV and hepatitis C.

 

By enacting these pieces of legislation, Maine will increase access to and improve the quality of addiction treatment and evidence-based harm reduction services in the state.

 

 

Read the letter here

Read LD 663 here

Read LD 994 here