Governor LePage to Host Drug Crimes and Awareness Summit

October 18, 2013

For Immediate Release: Friday, Oct. 18
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage will host two Governor’s Drug Awareness Summits on Friday, October 25 in Westbrook and Auburn. The Governor and Public Safety Commissioner John Morris will join local law enforcement from around the State to focus on the impacts of drug crimes on local communities, and the amount of illicit drug use that is taking place in Maine.

“Mainers need to feel safe in their homes and communities,” said Governor LePage. “The personal and economic costs associated with drug and alcohol abuse are significant. I am focused on discussing and working with local law enforcement to maintain the safety of our state. If there is something we can do at the state level, we need to take action,” said the Governor.

In 2010, the total estimated cost of substance abuse in Maine was more than $1.4 billion, translating to over $1,000 for every Maine resident. In 2012, 779 babies were born drug-affected, and it expected this number will climb in 2013. The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency seized 27.5 pounds of bath salts through the first 6 months of 2012 alone and Maine is subject to ever increasing numbers of out-of-state drug trafficking organizations.

“Drug use is a significant problem in today’s society,” said Public Safety Commissioner John Morris. “In 2012, there were 5 drug-related homicides. It is important that the State Police and the MDEA work with local law enforcement throughout the state to find out exactly what the impacts of drug crimes are to local communities. If the State can do something better to help address this problem, we want to know about it,” continued Commissioner Morris.

Additionally, Governor LePage and Commissioner Morris are reminding Mainers about the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration nationwide Take Back Day this Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10:00 to 2:00. More than 100 collection sites will be set up throughout the state and will be staffed by local law enforcement agencies in partnership with public and private community leaders.

To find a collection site near you, call your local police department or go to www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html

Please Note: given the sensitive nature of this topic, the drug summits are closed to media and the public. However, there will be media availability with Governor LePage and Commissioner Morris immediately following each summit.