"Peer support programs are a vital and unique way to support people who are recovering from substance use disorders or other behavioral health issues.  When people have access to peers, their outcomes improve. People in peer support programs have fewer symptoms and end up in the hospital less often. Their well-being and self-esteem improve, and they participate more in their communities. Their recoveries are also more thorough and longer-lasting.

Access to peer support programs would also help people on probation or parole.  We know from our research on probation and parole in Montana that lack of access to treatment is a problem.  Of the 94 people on probation or parole that we interviewed for our report, Set Up to Fail: Montana’s Probation & Parole System, 45 percent said they had a history of mental health issues and 61 percent reported issues with substance use. Many people we interviewed noted that lack of access to the treatment they needed made it harder for them to stay out of jail or complete their probation or parole requirements.  Increasing access to peer support -  by making it Medicaid reimbursable – would help improve outcomes for people who are stuck in the maze of Montana’s broken probation and parole system.

Peer support is Medicaid reimbursable in the majority of states.  It’s time to pass SB 30 and add Montana to that list.” SK Rossi, Advocacy and Policy Director for the ACLU of Montana