It’s imperative that Mainers understand and support the idea of being able to rehabilitate as many individuals addicted to substances as we possibly can.

L.D. 377 seeks to establish drug rehabilitation and treatment programs in Maine’s county jails with grant funding from the state. Those incarcerated in county jails will benefit from grant funding that incorporates adding drug rehabilitation and treatment programs.

By passing this bill, legislators will give inmates affected by substance abuse the opportunity to enroll in a short-term or long-term residential drug rehabilitation and treatment program while incarcerated.

Those in county jail typically spend three weeks detained prior to release or transfer; of that time detained, none is devoted to drug rehabilitation or treatment. Although some inmates might not be detained specifically due to drug crimes, many times they are connecting dots to bigger issues.

By providing inmates with the option of rehabilitation and treatment, it offers them a reason to change. Inmates throughout time have had a stigma of being unworthy of treatment because of the circumstances of their imprisonment. Moreover, individuals with predispositions for substance abuse in their lifetime frequently appear in county jails without any idea of how to address the root of the problem.

By providing a rehabilitation and treatment program to those in county jail, individuals are given the chance to evaluate their choices surrounding substances and determine if they are ready to make real change in their lives.

Focusing on drug rehabilitation and treatment will undoubtedly reduce recidivism in counties across the state. But more importantly, it will help those individuals who are addicted to substances currently ravaging Maine cities one by one.

Shae Long

Lewiston