Maine’s new recovery bills are a step in the right direction, but they are inadequate.

Suboxone and counseling are great, and recovery houses are, too – I run four of them. But these solutions that politicians are offering literally leave out our most vulnerable (using and dying) Mainers. Someone who doesn’t want these services is expected to just shut up and die, or go to prison for their medical condition.

Maine lawmakers and leadership know this – do they want these Mainers to die? It isn’t a question of money – overdose-prevention sites, syringe exchange and other harm-reduction services actually save taxpayers money. They also reduce crime and increase likelihood that people will enter treatment and achieve recovery.

Maine is not working toward an evidence-based system of care; it’s working toward a Suboxone-based system of care that placates politicians and wins them “opioid crisis” brownie points from their constituents.

It’s time for Maine to stop being a crusader for the decades-long war against the poor. It’s time to embrace compassion, science and cost savings.

Jesse Harvey

founder and executive director, Journey House Recovery and Church of Safe Injection


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