Statement of Governor LePage on Rise in Number of Drug-Related Deaths

June 2, 2014

For Immediate Release: Monday, June 02, 2014
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today released the following statement about the newly released 2013 drug-induced death statistics:

“Our Administration is focusing on the fact that Maine is subject to ever-increasing numbers of out-of-state drug trafficking organizations establishing drug markets in the state. This disturbing trend tears at the very fabric of our communities and puts our children at risk.”

“As I have said in the past, we must be proactive in combating drug dealers and target our limited resources to better protect our communities. It’s extremely discouraging that Democrats shot down my bill just a few months ago and ignore the value of increasing the number of drug investigators, prosecutors and judges to fight drug crime. We even secured the funding that would have strengthened efforts to identify, investigate, prosecute and hold accountable those who distribute drugs within Maine, but Democrats refused to take action.”

“Attorney General Janet Mills has admitted that these ‘criminals are targeting our state to sell drugs, bringing a shocking level of violence with them’ and has said her office ‘is committed to prosecuting these cases’. She should know that if we do not have a way to catch the drug dealers and develop a case, her staff cannot prosecute them.”

“I think we all agree we also need to find more effective and efficient ways to treat addicts and provide them options that lead to successful long-term outcomes. In fact, the State has increased substance abuse funding in recent years from $7 million to more than $9 million. However, until we are able to curb the amount of drugs coming into our state, we will likely see the number of drug-induced deaths continue to rise.”