Maine Set for Wide Ranging Review of Addictions Policies  E-mail
Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire

09/03/2014 -ATIN-  In a hugely controversial move, one that has wound up sparking a top down, bottom up all around examination of the state's policies regarding the fight against addiction, in November 2013 the Bangor City Council passed a 180-day moratorium that prohibited what was an admittedly hugely fast growing Suboxone clinic business. By and large, Maine has a quite conservative and judgmental attitude toward addition and addicts and one thing is for sure the state's approach toward fighting addiction has turned out to be and expensive one. In a study conducted by Maine's Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS, estimated that between 2005 and 2010 the cost of dealing with alcohol and drug abuse skyrocketed from just shy of $900M annually to $1.4B annually. In 2012, DHHS estimated the annual cost at $1.2B, or to put it in another perspective, almost $900 for every man woman and child in the state. And these are NOT soft number estimates, but include numbers on the cost of treating an overdose victim in an emergency room all the way to jail and court operations costs.

Meetings Begin

According to published reports, a group of 20+ members including politicians, top law enforcement and healthcare officials and educators, held the first in a series a meetings that will end in November and whose goal is to stem the substance abuse and improve treatment, which is a far cry improvement of the state's Republican governor's pugilistic state-of-the-state address where he lectured lawmakers on the need to ratchet up the same old failed War on Drugs policies with more arrests, etc.. The October 8th meeting will be a special one, held in a Town Hall style format, where the nation's current top addictions policymaker, 25-yrs clean from addiction to alcohol Michael Botticelli who runs the White Office of National Drug Control Policy, will be the featured speaker and, obviously given the format, be taking questions from the audience.

Ridiculous Example from the Drug Warrior Hard Liners

In a rather ridiculous example of how passing hard line legislation can be successful in cleaning up the addictions epidemic, according to published reports the Maine legislature passed a law seriously cracking down on a Bath Salts problem that was affecting the state. Quoted in a local Maine newspaper, a top Maine law enforcement official, who by the way is a member of the committee reviewing addictions policy options for the state, said the law was critical to bringing the Bath Salts problem to an end. No doubt. But what you are talking about here is probably an "epidemic" involving a just a few thousand people where law enforcement could, and certainly should have given the VERY serious health impacts of extended Bath Salts use, brought the problem fairly easily under control. Tougher legislation involving opiates and cocaine, for example, where perhaps some five percent of Maine's population is involved all the way from very acute addiction to some form of lesser problem is a whole different matter. Frankly, the Bath Salts comparison is just laughable. We congratulate Maine's law enforcers on smashing that big Bath Salts problem.



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Ted Jackson


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