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Governor’s Address: A Comprehensive Plan to Fight the Drug Crisis Starts with Critical Thinking

As a business consultant, I used my skills and expertise to help deliver an outcome, develop a solution or mitigate a risk.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,

I look at governing the same way as improving a business. As an Administration, we first identify the problem, then we seek solutions to improve the situation.

Today, Maine is facing a huge drug problem. It is killing our children, ripping families apart and jeopardizing the safety within our communities.

Nearly 1,000 babies each year in Maine are born addicted to heroin and other opiates. Last year, more than 200 people in Maine died from overdoses, and our jails are overcrowded.

This is not just a problem. It is a crisis, and my Administration is taking action. Since announcing the Drug Summit, we have received overwhelming response.

As Commander and Chief and Governor of the State of Maine I will use all resources possible to ensure the public health and safety of Mainers. This includes enabling members of the Maine Army National Guard to help assist the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency in its counter-drug efforts.

We must have a comprehensive plan created by critical thinkers. We must provide solutions on how to disrupt the drug supply and hunt down the traffickers. We must also provide strategies about how to address addiction and improve recovery rates for those struggling to get off drugs.

We scheduled Drug Summit is on August 26. It will include top officials from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as judicial officials, including the U.S Marshal, Federal DEA officers, the Chief Justice and Attorney General. The Commissioner of Public Safety will moderate this session and help determine how we can best manage this drug-trafficking crisis from a law enforcement and judicial perspective.

These drugs do not magically appear on our streets; they are being brought in every day by outside drug gangs. Drug traffickers from places like the Philadelphia, the Bronx and Boston are making big money at our expense and they are killing Mainers as they do it.

These drug dealers don’t care who buys their heroin. But we do. They are our family members, our loved ones, friends and neighbors.

Recently, a lawyer blamed me for of his ex-wife’s overdose. Too often we see the devastating effects of addiction and how it takes over people’s lives, including this one. But we are all to blame if the State and its dedicated employees ignore those trafficking and addicting our citizens every day.

There are treatment programs for the uninsured. In fact, there is no funding shortfall for substance abuse treatment. In fact, my Administration has increased funding over the past five years.

While we’ve increased funding for addiction programs we ignore the people who are getting Mainers addicted. If we truly want to save lives, we must cut off the supply.

It’s easy to point the finger at someone and say they are to blame, but it’s much more difficult to work on a solution. We all have a choice. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.

I am bringing critical thinkers to the table to provide solutions to a complex problem. We will get the job done.

Thank You,

Paul R. LePage



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