In spite of almost three hours of testimony in favor of LD 967, which would make low levels of drug possession a civil offense instead of one that sends people to jail, the Mills administration is opposed to the idea. Experts on this issue — including doctors, researchers and people in recovery — testified that fear of jail doesn’t deter drug use, jails are not adequate treatment facilities and criminalization should not serve as a pathway to recovery.
The three groups that opposed the bill, including Mills administration officials, did not dispute these truths and experiences, but they opposed anyway. When asked if he thinks the current approach works, Attorney General Frey admitted, “It doesn’t.” So why are we refusing to change? Nothing changes if nothing changes. This phrase is well known in some recovery communities. One part of entering and sustaining recovery includes taking a hard look inside and finding the courage to change what we need to change in order to move forward. It’s time for Maine to take that look inside, then take a deep breath, and make a change.