In the debate over the opioid crisis, one topic that has been overlooked, as of recent, is the importance of providing a housing-first approach to the treatment of opioid use disorders for homeless individuals. As future clinicians, it is our belief that by taking a holistic approach to substance abuse treatment, there will be a greater chance of long-term recovery regarding the population of homeless individuals. L.D. 1711 recognizes the necessity of providing Maine with a housing-first approach to treatment, and therefore, we want to highlight the importance of the bill being passed and funded.

L.D. 1711 would provide timely and accessible substance use treatment and stable housing to 50 of Maine’s most vulnerable homeless opioid using individuals. Homeless individuals face many unique barriers, including being forced to choose between receiving substance use treatment or having shelter. Because of this, many homeless individuals go without treatment for their opioid use in an effort to meet their most basic needs.

L.D. 1711 recognizes that people should not have to choose between housing and treatment, and aims to meet both needs at once.

If L.D. 1711 becomes law, it will not only benefit the homeless individuals that are participating in the program, but also their families and everyone in their communities. Increasing the accessibility of substance abuse treatment for homeless individuals will cut down on health care, and law enforcement costs. Substance abuse treatment not only saves lives, but also saves the community money. The proposed bill addresses a gap in treatment services, and because of this, we show our support for L.D. 1711.

Katrina Duncan

Jacklyn Jones

Master of Social Work


University of Maine

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