Archive for September, 2015

Health experts call for collaboration to reduce number of drug-affected Maine …

September 30th, 2015

For Danielle Rideout, the massive increase in the number of drug-affected babies in Maine – largely blamed on the state’s opiate crisis – is not only a disturbing trend, but a reminder of her personal history.

Rideout, 31, was addicted to heroin when she became pregnant with her first child in 2007.

Danielle Rideout of Tri-County Mental Health Services, right, joined by Tim Diomede of the State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup, speaks Wednesday at a conference in Portland aimed at reducing the numbers of drug-affected babies.


“I rolled out of bed and got high,” said Rideout, originally from Chebeague Island but now a Yarmouth resident. Rideout said she started using marijuana and alcohol as a teenager, and her addictions progressed until she became a heroin addict in her 20s.

Rideout was a panelist Wednesday at a daylong “Substance Abuse and Pregnancy” conference at the Seasons Event and Conference Center in Portland. LePage administration officials, alarmed at a spike in drug-affected babies, hosted the conference so that experts in a number of areas could discuss ways to help alleviate the problem.

The number of drug-affected babies has soared from 178 in 2006 to 995 in 2015, according to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Of the 995, 87 percent were born to women who were addicted to heroin, prescription opiates or methadone, DHHS officials said Wednesday.

Rideout said she was able to get into a treatment program when she was pregnant, and her baby was

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Group warns of pitfalls of marijuana legalization at Bangor forum

September 27th, 2015

BANGOR, Maine — If Maine regulates marijuana the way it regulates alcohol, residents can expect increased use of the drug as the public perception of risk declines and the substance becomes cheaper, easier to obtain and more socially acceptable.

That’s the message Thomas J. Gorman, director of the the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, delivered during an anti-marijuana legalization presentation Wednesday at Husson University’s Gracie Theater.

“We almost have as many people addicted to alcohol as use all the other illegal drugs combined,” Gorman said.

“That’s the worst model we would ever want to use,” he said.

Gorman is a longtime narcotics officer who served 10 years as an undercover agent and twice was wounded in the line of duty. The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Trafficking Area is a drug-prohibition program in Colorado run by the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy.

As keynote speaker for Wednesday’s event, sponsored by Bangor Public Health and Community Services and Healthy Acadia, Gorman discussed the effect of legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado, where the nation’s first state-regulated pot stores opened in January 2014.

He told the more than 100 attendees that Colorado ranks third in the nation for marijuana use among youths and fifth in the nation for use among adults.

It has 369 licensed marijuana retail stores compared with 405 Starbucks coffee shops, he said.

Other statistics he pointed to included increased traffic fatalities related to marijuana, increased arrests for motorists

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Franklin County sheriff’s weekly report: Busy week

September 27th, 2015

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office weekly report for Sept. 11 – 25, 2015:
Deputies responded to 225 calls for service during this time period

9/11/2015 Deputy Nicholas Zecher responded to an alarm at Mt. Abram Health Center at 25 Depot Street in Kingfield.

9/11/2015 Cpl. Nate Bean assisted Rangeley police with a complaint in Rangeley.

9/11/2015 Deputy Matt Brann investigated an ATV accident in Strong where the driver sustained minor injuries.

9/11/2015 Lt. David Rackliffe conducted a traffic stop on Church Street in Carthage, as a result of the stop Patrick Friel, 55, of Rangeley was arrested on a charge of operating under the influence.

9/12/2015 Cpl. Bean responded to a motorcycle accident on Route 27 in Eustis where the driver was injured and transported to Franklin Memorial Hospital.

9/12/2015 Deputy Zecher assisted Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office with a child custody investigation that started in Kingfield.

9/12/2015 Deputy Brann and Cpl. Bean responded to Phillips for a report of an unattended vehicle abandoned at the High Street and Rangeley Road intersection. Upon arrival it was determined that the driver was still in the vehicle but had shut its lights off. After talking with the driver deputies determined that the driver was in crises and asked if he was willing to go to the hospital for a mental health evaluation. The driver agreed to go.

9/12/2015 Deputy Colt Bernhardt investigated a report of a vehicle off the road on Norton Hill Road in Strong. As a result of the investigation, Ellis Burke of Strong

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Presque Isle medical pot ordinance sparks normalization conversation

September 25th, 2015

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Officials in Aroostook County’s largest city are moving to regulate a potential medical marijuana dispensary, while wondering about the implications of the quasi-legal substance coming out of the black market.

In a joint meeting of the Presque Isle City Council and planning board on Sept. 17, members were asked to give city staff some direction on drafting a new medical marijuana dispensary ordinance. The ordinance would replace a city regulation enacted before Maine’s 2010 voter-approved dispensary expansion.

According to city officials, Aroostook County’s only medical marijuana dispensary, Safe Alternatives in Eagle Lake, is considering relocating to Presque Isle, where it could grow and sell marijuana in various forms to patients with a certification card. Seperately, a local couple who currently grow medical pot through the caregiver system would like to set up a cultivation space along Main Street on U.S. Route 1.

The council enacted a 180-day dispensary moratorium in August to create time to discuss the issues. The moratorium could be renewed, but City Manager Martin Puckett is hoping that city staff can write an ordinance proposal that will be ready for a public hearing and city council vote in early 2016, before Maine voters decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana sales in a referendum next November.

Pucket’s task now is to write a draft ordinance that meets state standards, includes a permit fee and sets requirements on issues like public safety, setbacks and odor reduction. But the board and council’s discussion reflected the national fault lines in public

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Medical marijuana – Biddeford – Saco

September 25th, 2015

BIDDEFORD/SACO/OLD ORCHARD BEACH – An ordinance that will define which zones medical marijuana production facilities or a registered dispensary will be allowed in was passed by the Old Orchard Beach Town Council last month. Biddeford and Saco already have several production facilities operated by caregivers, who are permitted to grow plants for up to five patients, or six, if the caregiver is also a patient.

The ordinance was approved after the town council passed consecutive 60-day emergency moratoriums on the cultivation of medical marijuana in nonresidential locations for more than a year.

“That ordinance was one of the most difficult ones,” said Town Planner Jeffery Hinderliter. “I’ve written some of the most sophisticated ordinances and that one was one of the most difficult.”

As medical and recreational marijuana laws continue to be debated across the country, and passed in some states, Hinderliter said he turned to communities in California and Colorado for guidance in how towns are zoned to accommodate legal marijuana production and sales.

The Medical Marijuana Act was approved by voters in a 1999 Maine referendum and allows for people with certain illnesses to get permission from a doctor to use marijuana for medical purposes. Each medical marijuana patient may cultivate his or her own plants or designate a caregiver to grow the plants.

The law allows for a patient or caregiver to cultivate in their primary residence, but municipalities may regulate cultivation in nonresidential locations.

Hinderliter said the town was unprepared last year when resident Pierre Bouthiller met with the planning board to

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Maine gives example of how medical marijuana may work in NH

September 25th, 2015

Medical marijuana dispensaries could open in New Hampshire as early as January, and Granite Staters wondering what to expect could look to Maine as an example.

Click to watch News 9’s coverage

Wellness Connection of Maine opened a dispensary in 2011 in downtown Portland. It originally had two employees serving about 200 people. Now, the company operates four dispensaries with more than 60 workers serving about 10,000 patients.

“It has been a period of rapid growth,” Wellness Connection co-founder Becky Dekeuster said.

The cannabis is grown and packaged at a facility in Auburn, Maine. It’s then shipped to shops and sold alongside edible products, liquid extracts and marijuana paraphernalia.

Eligible patients who have proper documents are called to a counter where staff help them figure out what they need.

“It’s much more than an in-and-out visit,” Dekeuster said. “I would say that our staff are really good at connecting with our patients.”

About 20 miles south in Biddeford, a trip to Canuvo is almost like going to the doctor’s.

Located in an area near other medical professionals, Canuvo’s staff meets with patients one-on-one in dispensing rooms.

“People are still a little bit uncomfortable with going ahead and shouting to the world, ‘This is what I choose for my medication,'” Canuvo CEO Sage Peterson said.

Medical marijuana’s success in Maine is something Sanctuary ATC hopes to experience in New Hampshire.

“This is the time for the patients to actually start having a conversation with their health care provider,'” said Dr.

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Grant targets youth drug-abuse prevention

September 24th, 2015

Most of the funding that Casco Bay Create Awareness Now uses to combat youth substance abuse in Freeport and elsewhere in Cumberland County comes from the federal Drug-Free Communities Support Program. And more is due – Casco Bay CAN has been awarded a $625,000, five-year grant by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Casco Bay CAN, which has two employees and an office at the Freeport Community Center, serves Cumberland, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Gray, New Gloucester, Pownal and North Yarmouth, in addition to Freeport.

Phyllis Latham, chairman of the board and a guidance counselor at Freeport Middle School with 26 years in the education field, said that the grant is written so that the agency can work directly with parents on protecting their children from harmful drugs. Community representatives, including school officials, the faith community, police, parents, youth representatives and others, make up Casco Bay CAN. The grant money goes to pay for health-care professionals and police to conduct substance-abuse programs. The funding also pays for packets of materials, books and videos used in presentations.

“It’s more for education of the parents,” Latham said. “We do a lot as far as offering information on how to talk to your teen or pre-teens about substance abuse. And we have guest speakers.”

Latham said that prescription drug use and access to medical marijuana used by parents are relatively new problems at the middle-school level.

“Before it might have been tobacco or alcohol,” she said.

The agency urges parents to keep both their prescription drugs and their

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Island Police Log: Man charged with assault

September 24th, 2015

BAR HARBOR — An alleged ongoing domestic assault situation at a School Street residence was reported to police early Sunday morning. Officer Brad O’Neil arrived to investigate a report that a juvenile in the house had been slapped. Bruce W. Peters, 65, of Bar Harbor was arrested on a charge of domestic violence assault. No injuries requiring medical treatment were reported.

Firefighters responded to a chimney fire at the Harborside Hotel Saturday night. The chimney vents the lobby fireplace and comes out the third floor roof. It had been cleaned recently, according to reports.

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Assistant Fire Chief John Lennon discharged a fire extinguisher up the chimney toward the fire. The hotel was evacuated while firefighters sprayed water from a ladder truck on the roof and into the chimney. Crews checked areas around the chimney on the second and third floor for signs of fire. Smoke was ventilated from the lobby, and guests were allowed back in within an hour. Crews and apparatus from other towns responded and remained in reserve if needed.

A two-car accident the afternoon of Sept. 15 at the intersection of Mount Desert Street and Holland Avenue resulted in both

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Bangor Public Health hosts marijuana summit – WCSH

September 23rd, 2015

local public health groups hosted a presentation about the impacts of recreational marijuana in other states.

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Hancock County Sheriff’s Log: Vehicle attacked with baseball bats in Stonington

September 23rd, 2015

ELLSWORTH — A Stonington business called Hancock County Sheriff’s deputies Sept. 16 after witnessing a group of four people using a baseball bat to smash a vehicle that was parked at the business.

Lt. Chris Thornton located the owner of the smashed vehicle, who did not wish to pursue charges. The business did not wish to pursue disorderly conduct charges either, Thornton said.

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Police are investigating a burglary of few hundred dollars in coins from a Penobscot residence Sunday.


A Massachusetts woman reported Friday that she had been assaulted at a Surry residence two weeks ago and wants to pursue criminal charges. Thornton is investigating.

Agency assists

Deputy Rob Morang collected information from Swan’s Island residents Friday as part of a domestic violence investigation that the Hampden Police Department has launched.

Deputy Eric McLaughlin assisted the Southwest Harbor Police Department with a domestic disturbance Saturday.

Deputy Jeff McFarland aided the Maine State Police with a domestic disturbance in Trenton Saturday.

Citizen assist

Deputy Dana Austin took a Lamoine woman who was having mental

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