BANGOR — A state representative wants to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
The proposed bill would make possession a civil offense not a criminal offense with a 100 dollar fine. Representative Perry said if the person is unable to pay the fine they would be allowed to get substance abuse disorder treatment.
Representative Anne Perry, D Calais said, “In jailing somebody for an addiction that they are trying to deal with a trauma they are dealing with only traumatizes them more.”
Representative Scott Cyrway, R Albion, a retired officer, said he believes it isn’t the right move. “When a person is hooked on drugs they don’t think they have a problem, they think that this is their norm and they need it for their little high that they get because they keep reaching for a higher high.”
He said it was funny that the proposed bill was coming from someone who has worked at a methadone clinic.
Cyrway said keeping the drug possession a criminal offense is more likely to get somebody to seek help. “Many times it is a wake-up call cause they’re away from the family and they’ve let some family down and themselves down and sometimes that’s all it takes,” he said.
Perry said it’s time to help people rather than jail them, “the more exposure they have to the opportunity of treatment the more likely they are to seek it.”
The bill has several co-sponsors and will be debated in weeks to come. A date has yet to be set for a public hearing on this bill.