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Governor’s Address: Maine is under attack from drug dealers

Maine is under attack from out-of-state drug dealers who are peddling poison to our kids, and it’s time we get serious about it.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,

I read a story in The Washington Post about Maine’s heroin crisis and the young man from Falmouth who died last year from heroin overdose. As a parent, the story of a good family destroyed by heroin addiction struck close to home. Ann and I worry about young Mainers, and how heroin addiction can tear a family apart, regardless of social status or parenting efforts.

Folks, we have to get tough on this problem. Deaths from heroin overdose are four times more frequent than they were just 10 years ago. Gangs are trafficking this deadly poison in our state, using other New England states as their operating base. We need to go after the dealers—not the addicts—but it’s not an easy job.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency is working around the clock to lock up these dealers of death, and we often see their results in the news with drug bust after drug bust. However, they need more help. That’s why I repeatedly ask the legislature to pay for 14 new agents to crack down on drug dealers, to no avail. They denied my request. Then we asked for seven agents, but they only gave us half. These Democrat legislators are not serious about stopping the drug epidemic that is killing our young people.

Please call your state representative and state senator and tell them to hire more MDEA agents. They won’t do it on their own. I need the help of the Maine people to get this done. We can’t just arrest our way out of this problem. For those who addicted to deadly opiates like heroin, there is help—even if you don’t have insurance. The liberal media claims that reductions in welfare eligibility for able-bodied young adults have reduced drug treatment options for addicts. This is false.

DHHS has money available for drug treatment, even for those who don’t have Medicaid or private insurance. In fact, we have hundreds of thousands of dollars left over every year in this program. We have the resources to help those who need it. The State has increased funding for addiction treatment from $7 million to $17 million since I’ve been Governor.

Unfortunately, Maine’s welfare system has fueled the drug trade for too long. We’ve all seen the photos of drug busts with EBT cards that were used to pay for drugs. One welfare recipient whose EBT card showed up in possession of a drug dealer had gotten 47 replacement cards in just a couple of years—47 EBT cards for one person! The old rule allowed people to get unlimited replacement EBT cards for free; cards they often traded for heroin and other narcotics. Our new rules would cap EBT users at four replacement cards.

We’re also putting photos on EBT cards, so drug dealers are less likely to take them as payment for heroin.

The Washington Post article noted the dealer who sold the lethal dose of heroin to the young man from Falmouth was living in subsidized housing in Portland. We have to be more careful about who our taxpayer-funded programs are supporting.

We simply cannot allow welfare benefits to enable drug abuse and drug trafficking.

Dial 2-1-1 if you or a loved one is addicted to heroin and needs help paying for treatment. Please, get help before it’s too late.

Thank You,

Paul R. LePage



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