Let me try to understand Gov. LePage’s logic. Maine currently has a chronic epidemic of opiate addiction; therefore, Gov. LePage proposes in his new budget to eliminate MaineCare funding for methadone treatment, the world’s standard of medical care for those addicted to opiates.

His administration entertains the fantasy that office-based treatment of opiate addiction using Suboxone can replace methadone treatment – except that there aren’t enough physicians in Maine willing to get trained to use Suboxone, and most of the state’s primary care practice organizations want nothing to do with treating the opiate-addicted population, using Suboxone or any other medication-assisted treatment that works.

Therefore, we will have an increasing population of individuals with untreated opiate addiction who will be on the street continuing to use drugs. It is likely that many of these individuals will be getting arrested for drug-related crimes and in jail instead of getting treatment.

Gov. LePage’s preparation for this probable increase in drug-related incarcerations is to dismantle the Board of Corrections, inadequately fund the jails and force jail administrators to release inmates back on the street.

Writing as an addiction-medicine specialist who has been treating Maine’s opiate-addicted population for the past 20 years, and who arrives at these conclusions from an informed, experienced perspective, allow me to mix a metaphor. Gov. LePage’s logic on opiate addiction treatment is a recipe for a perfect storm of negative consequences. It is disastrous public health policy.

When he proclaims that Maine is “open for business,” I believe that this will surely be the case for dealers of heroin and other illegal opiates.

Joseph Py, D.O.