The Maine State House is seen at sunrise, Dec. 2, 2020, in Augusta, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

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We are master of social work students at the University of Maine urging support for a bill currently being considered in the Maine Legislature,  LD 162, “An Act to Establish a Substance Use Disorder Hotline and Consultation and Clinical Supervision Program.”

Maine is in a substance use crisis. Perpetuating the problem is lack of treatment availability and professionals in Maine trained specifically in substance use disorders (SUDs). Physicians supporting this bill have stressed the need for an avenue for primary care physicians (PCP) and other medical professionals to connect to those with substance use expertise. They emphasized the importance of having a system in place to help medical professionals in the recognition, assessment, and treatment of SUDs spanning all age ranges.

Maine has many private practices in remote locations, and this service is crucial in providing informed care and treatment for the many individuals in our state suffering from a SUD, not only opioids but also prescription medications, stimulants, inhalants, and alcohol. It is important to note that people that have an active SUD as well as those in recovery, often have medical issues caused or exacerbated by their use. The first, sometimes only, point of contact they have with health professionals is through a PCP.

This bill would establish a real-time hotline for medical professionals that do not specialize in substance use to utilize when they have questions concerning the care of their patients who have a SUD, whether in active recovery, active use, or not yet diagnosed. Please join us in supporting LD 162.

Angie Holmes

Dylan Clark

Belle Spearin

Hannah Longley