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For Immediate Release

Date: 03/08/11

Rep. Malaby Appointed to Substance Abuse Services Commission

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Richard Malaby has been named to the Substance Abuse Services Commission, which plays a key role in Maine's fight against drug and alcohol abuse.

Rep. Malaby (R-Hancock), who served on the board of trustees at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, said he is honored by the appointment and looks forward to getting started. "We have a huge problem on our hands," he said. "I hope to play a part in the solution through service on the commission."

Rep. Malaby noted that a 2005 study estimated the cost of substance abuse in Maine at about $900 million per year. That same year, the Office of Substance Abuse reported that drug- and alcohol-related crime costs the state more than $200 million annually.

"Drug and alcohol abuse represents a hidden tax on the state," he said. "And beyond the financial cost is the loss in terms of eroding human potential. Maine loses more people from drug overdose deaths every year than we lose in auto accidents. And in recent years, more and more Mainers are being victimized by drug-related crime in the form of home invasions, burglaries, robberies and domestic violence."

The 21-member commission was established by the Legislature in 1993. Five state legislators serve on the panel, all appointed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. Like two other Republican representatives named to the commission, Rep. Malaby serves on the Health and Human Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over substance abuse, prescription drugs, tobacco addiction prevention, medical marijuana and rehabilitation services.

Other commission members represent a cross-section of individuals with experience in dealing with substance abuse, including a physician, an attorney, educators from all levels, employers, treatment practitioners, and persons affected by or recovering from alcoholism, chronic intoxication, drug abuse or drug dependency.

The commission acts as a bridge between the Office of Substance Abuse, the public and elected officials regarding the issues of substance abuse prevention, research, identification and treatment. It advises the governor, the Legislature, and the Supreme Judicial Court on drug abuse prevention. It also conducts or commissions studies related to abuse issues and submits an annual report to the Legislature. ###

Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445