FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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AUGUSTA - The ACLU of Maine released the following response to the governor’s budget proposal that would increase funding for a law enforcement response to Maine’s drug crisis, without increasing funding for treatment and prevention.
The following can be attributed to Alison Beyea, executive director of the ACLU of Maine:
"Thousands of Mainers suffering from addiction don’t have access to the help they need, yet once again Governor LePage’s response is to funnel money into arresting and incarcerating them. The governor's words about treatment and recovery ring hollow considering that on his watch there have been nothing but cuts to these critical programs. If Governor LePage truly cares about helping the people of Maine, he will stop pushing the failed war on drugs and start listening to the medical experts who say it’s time for a new approach."
The following can be attributed to Dr. Merideth Norris:
"I have been working with patients addicted to opioids in Maine for over eight years. I have met with law enforcement officials in several areas of the state, as well as health care providers, and we are all in agreement about one thing: if criminalizing addiction were working, it would be working. We are treating a neurological illness; if we were treating any other illness, we would be required to treat it with a therapy that has an impact on the target population. The evidence is strong that arrest is not effective either on a community or an individual level."