Paul LePage announces participants in drug abuse prevention summit


The LePage administration has released the list of participants at a drug abuse prevention summit Gov. Paul LePage will host Aug. 26 in Augusta.

The governor has been planning the summit in response to a significant spike in heroin coming into Maine and a rash of recent overdoses. On the list are a mix of state and federal law enforcement and addiction treatment professionals.

“Heroin has hit Maine hard and now we’re starting to seen an evolution of heroin,” said Maine Public Safety Commissioner John Morris. “Initially, we are seeing heroin and fentanyl mixed together, but we are not finding many more cases of fentanyl alone. It’s a lot cheaper to produce than heroin. We must identify specific problem areas and seek solutions before we lose more lives.”

Here is the list of participants:

  • Governor – Paul R. LePage
  • U.S. Attorney – Thomas Delahanty
  • Chief Justice, Maine Supreme Court – Leigh Saufley
  • Attorney General – Janet Mills
  • State EMS Medical Director – Dr. Matt Shool
  • Commissioner Public Safety – John Morris
  • Commissioner DHHS – Mary Mayhew
  • U.S. Marshal – Noel March
  • DEA SAC New England – Michael Ferguson
  • Executive Director MCOP – Robert Swartz
  • President Maine Sheriffs – Sheriff Joel Merry
  • President Maine DA’s -Stephanie Anderson
  • Portland Police Chief – Michael Sauschuck
  • Chief Customs & Border Patrol – Daniel Hiebert
  • Colonel State Police – Robert Williams
  • Colonel Warden Service – Joel Wilkinson
  • Colonel Marine Patrol – Jon Cornish
  • Maine Drug Enforcement – Roy McKinney
  • Medical Examiner’s Office – Dr. Marcella Sorg
  • Maine National Guard – Brigadier General Gerald Bolduc
  • President Acadia Hospital – Daniel Coffey
  • Chairman Bangor Area Recovery Network – Bruce Campbell
  • Chief Medical Officer Maine General Hospital – Dr. Steve Diaz

While reactions to LePage holding the summit have been in general supportive, there has been concern expressed among some that the summit would be weighted too heavily toward the law enforcement side of fighting addiction with not enough emphasis on the treatment and recovery side. Some have also called for the voice of the addict to be more prevalent at events like this one.

LePage has been trying for years to hire more prosecutors, investigators and judges to fight drugs. He has said he would like to utilize the Maine National Guard to crack down on dealers but has not detailed what he would do.

“We must identify how to best utilize the scarce resources available to combat Maine’s heroin crisis,” said LePage in a written statement Tuesday morning. “I am very impressed by the group of individuals who will be at the table and I anticipate an exchange of information that will help us find solutions to improve the health and safety of all Mainers.”