Chipman bill would help people with substance use disorder stay on path of recovery

Posted: May 05, 2017 | Senator Chipman

A bill introduced by Sen. Ben Chipman, D-Portland, to help people access sober living facilities after they leave detox or residential treatment programs was the subject of a public hearing in the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday.

The bill — LD 1413, “Resolve, Regarding Sober Living Transitional Assistance” — would provide financial assistance to people who, upon being discharged from a detoxification or residential treatment program, cannot afford the security deposit and first month’s rent to enter housing in a recovery residence. The bill would also charge the Department of Health and Human Services with contracting with an outside entity to credential and oversee these facilities.

“Too many people can’t afford the security deposit and first month’s rent to enter into a sober home after their treatment,” said Sen. Chipman. “If they end up back in the same living situation they were in before, they’re also back around their same friends and old habits, making recovery harder. Providing this assistance is an easy way to help people stick with their recovery — saving lives and money in the long run.”

Malory Shaughnessy, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Service’s Maine chapter, also spoke in favor.

“The two key barriers we see to people moving along their path of recovery are access to treatment, and housing,” said Shaughnessy. “And even if they are able to access detox and substance use treatment, without safe housing it is often unsuccessful. To go through detox and then be back on the street, or back into a housing situation with a roommate who is still using, or on the couch of a friend that is still using, is a quick ticket to relapse.”

LD 1413 faces further action in the Health and Human Services Committee and votes in the House and the Senate.