According to a new report from the Maine chapter of the ACLU and the Maine Center for Economic Policy, state and local governments here spend $111 million on arresting and incarcerating people who use drugs. About one in every 11 arrests is related to drugs, and these aren’t kingpins: Almost three-quarters of drug arrests are for possession.
Those arrests aren’t getting us anywhere, either. Incarceration of low-level drug users does nothing to lower the overall drug supply, nor does it convince others to stop using — supply and demand are driven by much bigger factors. Instead, in most cases, it makes overcoming addiction more difficult.