To: The Maine State House, The Maine State Senate, and Governor Janet Mills
Act Now To Address the Opioid Crisis to Avoid More Deaths!
Don't play politics with the lives of Maine people. Pass and fund the recommendations of the opioid task force this year. 418 more overdose deaths is too high a price to wait another year.
Why is this important?
Tell the Governor and the Maine Legislature that it’s time to put their money where their mouth is!
Over the last two years we have heard our state legislators discuss the opioid crisis at length. We’ve had collaboratives and task forces and reports and comprehensive proposals. But what we haven’t had is action. Meanwhile, 2017 saw overdose deaths rise yet again. In 2017, our failure to pass and fund meaningful legislation claimed 418 lives, a more than 137% increase over 2013. Meanwhile, we continue to lock people up on low-level drug offenses, even as evidence only grows that this approach has had no impact on drug use for the last 50 years and has only served to exacerbate the crisis.
We need treatment and harm reduction - not longer prison sentences.
Today, this year, the Legislature is considering legislation proposed by the Opioid Task Force, that would have a meaningful impact on the opioid crisis. This includes legislation that will increase access to drug treatment (LD 1430), increase housing stability and provide treatment for people who use drugs and are experiencing homelessness (LD 1711), divert people away from the criminal justice system towards community based resources (LEAD bill). Additionally our elected officials are taking up legislation to create a pilot project to address substance use using evidence-based practices in Washington County, one of the areas hit hardest by the opioid crisis (LD 812), legislation to help stabilize mothers attempting to enter recovery from opioid use and helping to reunite them with their children (LD 1771) and legislation help prevent the spread of HIV and hepatitis C (LD 1707).
Unfortunately, as critical as this legislation is, as much as it will save Maine lives, many legislators are balking at the price tag or playing politics with the budget. Others continue to beat the drum that calls for a ‘tough love’ response to the crisis, pushing for longer prison sentences and harsher laws, in spite of 50 years of this failed approach.
Join with us to send the message that the legislature needs to fund and support an opioid package THIS YEAR to address this crisis.
Join with us to send the message that it is time for action, not more discussion, and this issue requires attention THIS YEAR, to prevent more loss of life.
Join with us to send the message that people’s lives are not bargaining chips in the budget-making process.
Join with us to send the message that this is a MORAL ISSUE and that Maine people need their support to address this ongoing, horrifying crisis.