Landmark events are happening in our nation. The state of Oklahoma has found medication producer Johnson & Johnson responsible for producing and promoting opioids as having reduced danger and increased benefits; they will pay $572 million to the state to establish services for those suffering from opiate addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Maine providers wrote 55.7 opioid prescriptions in 2017 for every 100 patients.

Millions of people are prescribed medications in times of pain; instead of healing, many begin a battle with addiction. We owe it to our neighbors, brothers and sisters to tell our legislators to create limits to those prescribing and to maximize resources towards evidence based treatment instead of criminalization.

Opioids and heroin are manufactured from the same flower and activate the same neurotransmitters in the brain, meaning they have similar effects. Opioid pills are prescribed by a doctor, while heroin is a black market illegal substance. The Maine Beacon has reported that 72 percent of women in Maine’s prisons are there on drug-related charges. This is a direct reflection of the lack of treatment options and evidence-based policy in Maine.

We, the people, need to take the next step and educate our legislative representatives on evidence-based practices that support decriminalizing drug use. Drug users are not criminals. We need to respond by giving love to those who are suffering. We need to show our representatives that drug policy is personal and should be representative of love – not punishment.

Christi Wilson

Portland

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