Maine Should Decriminalize Drugs, Report From ACLU Says

Maine Should Decriminalize Drugs, Report From ACLU Says
MJ moment

“A majority of people in Maine support removing criminal penalties for those who use drugs. This is a move that Maine is ready for.” By Evan Popp, Maine Beacon Drug decriminalization would lead to far better health outcomes for people with substance use disorder while also saving Maine millions currently spent on punishment and incarceration rather than helping those who use drugs get treatment, a report released Monday found. The study was produced by the ACLU of Maine and the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP). Based on conversations with more than 150 people—including those who have been arrested for drug crimes as well as treatment professionals, harm reduction workers, prosecutors and defense attorneys — along with data from public records requests and academic research, the report makes the case for decriminalizing the use and possession of drugs in Maine. The state’s current system, which harshly criminalizes the possession of even small amounts of illegal substances, has amassed a staggering social and economic toll, the authors of the report argue, and must change if the state is to truly address an overdose epidemic that claimed the lives of nearly two Mainers a day in 2021. The study found that criminalization makes drug use more dangerous and creates conditions that mean those with substance use disorder—a disease—are less able to attain treatment. “The isolation and disconnection of prison or jail time can interrupt treatment and lead to an increased likelihood of overdose after release,” the authors of the report write. “And the criminal records that people get from drug charges means they are forever branded as criminals, making employment, housing and other necessary processes very difficult to get and keep. People who use drugs face stigma because of all this criminal punishment.” In a new report from the ACLU of Maine and @MECEP1, we detail the…

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Source : Maine Should Decriminalize Drugs, Report From ACLU Says

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