Bill calls for task force to stem the tide of addiction in Maine’s fishing industry

December 5th, 2017 by admin Leave a reply »

Nine years ago, a young “wrinkler” drowned when he was swept away by the rising tide in Lubec Channel.

Kristopher Fergerson, 27, was picking periwinkles, a small edible snail, with a friend to make ends meet after losing his job as a carpenter. The medical examiner labeled his death an accident, but state Rep. Mick Devin, D-Newcastle, a shellfish commissioner, blamed it on drugs. Toxicology results found morphine, Diazepam and ethanol in Fergerson’s blood, records show. The harvester stayed out too long because he needed money to buy drugs, Devin said.

Rep. Mick Devin, D-Newcastle

“That was almost 10 years ago, and you’d hope things would have changed, but it’s only gotten worse,” Devin said. “His death has always stuck with me, but I know that it’s still happening. Fishermen are still dying from drugs. Fishermen in my district are telling me that young guys are using drugs and going out to work on the water every day, and that’s dangerous – for them, for the people they fish with and for our local fishing economy.”

Devin wants the Maine Legislature to create a task force to investigate the high rate of addiction among Maine’s commercial fishermen. Last week, a bill that Devin wants to submit to create that task force got a green light from the Legislative Council, which must approve all bills for consideration during even-numbered years when Maine tries to limit legislative debate to emergency matters. The council voted 6-4 in favor of considering the task force

Article source: