Today’s blog is a guest post submitted by the amazing folks at B.A.R.N. who make me very proud to be a Recovery Ally:
Bangor Area Recovery Network
142 Center Street
Brewer, ME 04412
e-mail : BARN@bangorrecovery.org
On Oct 18, Governor LePage’s website announced he was hosting two Summits on Drug Crimes and Awareness following the release of a State report that indicated the total annual economic impact of substance abuse in the State of Maine in 2010 was 1.4 billion dollars. Yet, his response cited in the BDN on Oct 25 was that “the state’s drug problem is escalating and more money is needed to fund the law enforcement agents responsible for tackling the growing number of crimes fueled by addiction.” At that Summit, attended by law enforcement officials, addiction treatment professionals were not invited. This points to a sorely naïve and costly policy strategy, and history supports this conclusion.
Since 2000, the costs of substance abuse in Maine have more than doubled. Penobscot County’s share of these costs in 2010 was over $160,000,000. That is 77% greater than Bangor’s municipal and school budget combined! Keep in mind these are annual costs, we get to bear these costs each and every year. What is so terribly wrong with this picture?
Like any commodity, alcohol and drugs are subject to principles of supply and demand. Increased enforcement is a “supply reduction” strategy designed to reduce the amount of alcohol and drugs available. Availability and access of alcohol