Report calls for Maine to decriminalize drugs, outlines dangers of punishing substance use


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.

Click here to read the full story, first published March 22, 2022, in Beacon.