Maine Addiction Treatment
Benzodiazepine and heroin abuse across Maine is a serious concern among many residents. In addition, the non-medical use of prescription drugs has spiked among young adults ages 18 to 25. Nearly one in 10 people aged 18 to 25 years old admitted to misusing pain relievers in the past year.
In Maine, more than one in three overdose deaths involve benzodiazepines. Heroin and morphine account for more than one in four overdose deaths.
From 2011 to 2014, Maine experienced a surge in illicit drug-related deaths – an increase of 340 percent. The majority of overdoses involve heroin, benzodiazepines, fentanyl, oxycodone, methadone and cocaine.
In recent years, organizations in Maine are pushing out initiatives in an effort to raise awareness about substance abuse prevention and treatment. These programs are making a difference in the number of individuals seeking help. Between 2010 and 2014 alone, the number of heroin users seeking treatment in Maine has more than tripled – from roughly 1,000 to more than 3,000.
Substance addictions most often treated in Maine rehab facilities include:
- Synthetic opioids
Another mounting problem in Maine is prescription drug abuse. The state averaged 60.4 prescribed narcotic pills per capita. Somerset and Kennebec counties have the highest rates of 76.8 and 80.7 pills per capita, respectively. There are a wide range of ways people obtain prescription medications such as doctor shopping, from family or friends, and even stealing from a medicine cabinet. Throughout Maine, 64 percent of those who abuse pain relievers have either received or stolen medication from a relative or friend.
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Laws of Maine Drug Use
Maine has enacted severe penalties for the possession, sale or distribution of illicit substances. Drugs are organized into four schedules: W, X, Y and Z. Schedules W and X entail drugs that are high risk for dependency and involve the strictest forms of punishment. Schedules Y and Z, on the other hand, consist of less dangerous drugs and minimal legal consequences.
Substance schedules in Maine are broken down accordingly:
- Schedule W: Cocaine, amphetamine, LSD, MDMA, lysergic acid, phencyclidine, heroin, methadone, oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, fentanyl and other opium derivatives
- Schedule X: Hashish, methaqualone, some depressants, ketamine, GHB, diethylpropion, glutethimide, methyprylon
- Schedule Y: Codeine, diazepam, sedatives, phenobarbital, ethinamate, methohexital, paraldehyde, ergot and phentermine
- Schedule Z: All prescription drugs other than those listed in schedules X, Y and Z, nonprescription drugs, some synthetic cannabinoids and butyl nitrite
Drug-related charges depend on the type of drug and amount involved. Sentencing generally entails:
|Schedule||Criminal Charge||Potential Sentencing|
|Schedule W – more than 14 grams of cocaine||Class B crime||At least 5, but up to 10 years in jail. $20,000 fine.|
|Schedule W – heroin, methamphetamine and oxycodone||Class C crime||At least 3, but up to 5 years in jail. $5,000 fine.|
|Schedule W – Other substances||Class D crime||At least 1, but up to 3 years in jail. $2,000 fine.|
|Schedule X||Class D crime||At least 1, but up to 3 years in jail. $2,000 fine.|
|Schedule Y||Class E crime||Up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 fine|
|Schedule Z||Class E crime||Up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 fine|
If you’re found in possession of large amounts of drugs, the criminal charges may rise. For instance, a schedule W substance can range from a class D to a class B crime depending on the drug and quantity.
Marijuana Laws in Maine
While recreational marijuana is prohibited in Maine, the medicinal use of marijuana is legal. Medical marijuana was approved in November 1999 and has since been amended three times in 2002, 2009 and 2013. Changes usually involved the amount of usable marijuana allowed, as well as the qualifying conditions.
In Maine, the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Nail-patella syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Patients or primary caregivers are allowed to possess two and one-half ounces at any given time. Home cultivation is also permitted; however, you may have no more than six mature marijuana plants.
There are tight legal penalties in Maine if you possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational purposes. The sale or possession of marijuana paraphernalia such as bongs, water pipes and roach clips can also face legal violations.
Criminal charges and penalties for recreational marijuana in Maine are as follows:
|Offense||Criminal Charge||Potential Sentencing|
|1.25 oz or less||Civil violation||$600 fine|
|More than 1.25 – 2.5 oz||Civil violation||$1,000 fine|
|More than 2.5 – 8 oz||Crime||6 months in jail and $1,000 fine|
|More than 8 oz – 1 lb||Crime||1 year in jail and $2,000 fine|
|More than 1 – 20 lbs||Crime||5 years in jail and $5,000 fine|
|More than 20 lbs||Crime||10 years in jail and $20,000 fine|
|Sale or Distribution|
|1 lb or less||Crime||1 year in jail and $2,000 fine|
|More than 1 – less than 20 lbs||Crime||5 years in jail and $5,000 fine|
|20 lbs or more||Crime||10 years in jail and $20,000 fine|
|To a minor or within 1,000 feet of a school or school bus||Crime||5 years in jail and $5,000 fine|
|Possession of paraphernalia||Crime violation||$300 fine|
|Sale of paraphernalia||Crime||6 months in jail and $1,000 fine|
|Sale to a minor younger than 16 years of age||Crime||1 year in jail and $2,000 fine|
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Addiction Treatment Laws in Maine
Maine harm reduction laws aim to reduce the negative impact that substance abuse can have on individuals, communities and states. Addiction is a disease that affects people in many different ways. By focusing on public health measures, prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery, harm reduction laws strive to keep communities safe and healthy.
Needle Exchange Programs (NEPs)
Needle exchanges have been allowed in Maine since 1997. However, many programs did not begin operating until the early 2000s. Needle exchange programs (NEPs) are put in place to reduce the number of injecting drug users (IDUs) from sharing contaminated needles. When IDUs share needles, they put themselves and others at risk for transmitting HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases.
Through NEPs, individuals are able to obtain clean, sterile needles in exchange for used needles. There are currently four state-certified NEPS operating at six sites in Maine: Portland, Lewiston, Augusta, Bangor, Ellsworth and Machias. The programs also provide referrals and other resources including treatment information, affordable housing, job sources and medical tests.
Between 2010 and 2015, Maine saw a 225 percent increase in the number of its needle exchange program (NEP) enrollees. In 2014, the state’s NEPs made more than 3,000 referrals which included HIV and hepatitis tests, as well as substance abuse programs.
Chapter 488 Public Law
Maine’s Chapter 488 Public Law was enacted to strengthen the state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). PDMPs allow health providers and pharmacists to track dispensed schedule II – IV controlled substances. This helps prescribers identify potential drug abuse, doctor shopping, insurance fraud or other red flags.
Under Chapter 488 Public Law, new rules and guidelines will be put in place as of the following dates:
- July 29, 2016: New prescriptions cannot exceed 100 Morphine Milligram Equivalent (MME) per day. In addition, existing prescriptions cannot exceed 300 MME per day (with some exceptions)
- January 1, 2017: Prescribers will be required to check the database for new benzo or opioid prescriptions. They must then recheck every 90 days thereafter. Chronic pain treatment will be limited to a 30-day supply of an opioid medication. Acute pain treatment will be limited to a seven-day supply of an opioid medication.
- July 1, 2017: Opioids must be electronically prescribed. Existing opioid prescriptions will be limited to 100 MME per day.
In 2014, 350,000 Maine residents were prescribed 80 million opioid painkillers – roughly one quarter of the population. The state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) focuses on tracking prescription drug use and limiting the supply duration.
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program
Substances are transported into Maine by private or commercial vehicle, plane, train or cargo ship. With numerous transportation outlets for moving drugs, it takes top-notch technology and equipment to combat drug trafficking organizations (DTOs).
The New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program coordinates drug-related initiatives among local, state and Federal law enforcement agencies. Some of the most recent projects include:
- Southern Maine HIDTA Task Force: Locate and stop large drug trafficking efforts that take place in Maine’s southern region, specifically Cumberland County.
- Fugitive Task Force: Colombian and Dominican DTOs are the biggest trafficking threat to Maine. This task force targets the major dealers of these groups in an effort to break apart the organization.
- Financial Task Force: Conduct detailed investigations to block money laundering activities among DTOs.
Treatment Centers in Maine
Although the demand for addiction treatment programs in Maine continues to rise, lawmakers are struggling with insufficient funding. For example, Maine spent $47 million in 2010 on substance abuse treatment including inpatient and outpatient rehab facilities, halfway houses and different types of therapy. In 2013, however, that number dropped to $43.7 million.
When you invest in treatment and recovery programs for substance abuse, you’re investing in a better tomorrow.
While Maine does not have state-funded treatment centers, some programs provide financial assistance based on need. Other methods of paying for treatment are private insurance, payment plans, a sliding scale and grants from local organizations.
When exploring different treatment options, check out facilities both in state and out of state. Traveling for treatment can give you access to specialized therapies, programs and recovery amenities.
Contact a treatment facility today to get started.