Lately there has been quite a bit of conversation about the rising number of deaths from drug overdoses in Maine. Whether it’s a family member, friend, or spouse, most of us know someone who has used and abused a substance. However, most of us don’t think about the consequences that can occur for intravenous drug users who share needles.

Any number of life-threatening diseases can be contracted through sharing needles, from AIDS to hepatitis. In the state of Maine we have syringe exchange programs, but they desperately need more funding. There is a bill in the state Senate, LD 1552, to appropriate more funding for clean needles and safely disposal of dirty syringes: “An Act to Reduce Morbidity and Mortality Related to Injected Drugs.” Please contact your senators to urge the appropriations committee to allocate funds in this manner.

After reading this you may think to yourself, why should I advocate for people who don’t seem to care about themselves? It’s hard to understand that without help, addicts have little choice but to continue to use regardless of their personal safety. We need to do all we can to help these people who cannot help themselves.

Emeline Ferguson

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