Senate unanimously enacts Bellows bill to improve addiction recovery services in Maine

Posted: June 21, 2019 | Senator Bellows

On Thursday, the Maine Senate unanimously enacted a bill from Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, to improve addiction recovery services and outcomes in Maine.

“People on the hard road of recovery should be able to have faith that a recovery residence meets the basic standards for quality of support and assistance they need to stay healthy,” said Sen. Bellows. “A voluntary certification process is a basic first step to prevent the heartbreaking and horrifying abuses we’ve seen in other states.”

Drug overdose deaths in Maine have averaged approximately one person per day since 2014. While the rate declined in 2018, it remains at historic levels.

The bill, LD 1523 “An Act To Ensure the Quality of and Increase Access to Recovery Residences,” directs the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a voluntary certification process for addiction recovery residences. This recommendation was adopted unanimously by the bipartisan Opioid Task Force because recovery residences are such an important tool in the path to recovery.

The bill also directs the Maine State Housing Authority to create a pilot project to provide a short-term rental subsidy to certified recovery residences that provide medication-assisted treatment. This would help make sure that recovery residences are not cost-prohibitive for low-income Mainers.

LD 1523 now goes to Gov. Janet Mills, who has 10 days to sign it into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without her signature.