To the Editor:
For the second year in a row, Gov. Paul LePage used his State of the State address to demand more taxpayer dollars be spent on the failed war on drugs.
Spending more on law enforcement while cutting treatment programs is a misguided tactic that has failed to curb drug abuse in Maine over the last three decades.
LePage called for more “efficient, effective and affordable government.” But he also called on the state to dump more money into the war on drugs, one of the least efficient, least effective and least affordable government programs in history.
In the last three decades, drug arrests in Maine have increased by 240 percent. We spend $60 million a year punishing people for drug offenses. Yet the demand for drugs in this state continues to go up.
As long as the demand exists, there will be a supply. We simply can’t arrest our way out of the problem.
If the governor is serious about curbing addiction in Maine, he should focus our limited resources on programs that help Mainers recover and prosper, not on putting more people in jail where they won’t get the treatment they need.
ACLU of Maine