WOODSTOCK — Maine State Trooper Jason Wing visited the Board of Selectmen Tuesday evening to discuss Maine’s ongoing drug epidemic and how Woodstock can help hinder the flow of drugs throughout Western Maine.

Wing said that saying there is a drug problem in Maine “is an understatement,” and that the problem “wasn’t so much a problem as it is an epidemic.”

“To say that there are a few hundred-thousand dollars spent in a year on illegal drugs is also an understatement,” Wing continued. “Drugs don’t really have boundaries. It’s hitting the lower class, the middle class and the upper class. There’s a misconception out there that the drug users are people who are on welfare, but that is not true. I’ve seen full-time workers who have an addiction to heroin. I don’t know how they do it, but it’s happening. It doesn’t just affect one group of people.”

He said that right now, police are “not as interested in arresting drug users.”

“We’re interested in the drug pushers and traffickers. If that means we have to arrest a drug user to work our way up the ladder to the pushers and traffickers, we’re going to do that.”

Wing said that officers have been arresting drug users who, in turn, testify against people trafficking drugs to them, “and in some instances, we’re working cases where we have to go out of state and work with out-of-state authorities to arrest drug traffickers.”

Maine’s cold weather means that the ingredients used to create some hard drugs, including coca leaves for cocaine or poppy for heroin, cannot be grown in the state, Wing said.

“Well, I guess that’s one plus for cold weather,” said Town Manager Vern Maxfield.

“As a result, this stuff is coming in from out of state, and out of the country,” Wing continued. “It’s working its way up the east coast.”

The drug problem is also spreading to the schools, Wing said.

“If it was just marijuana that we were dealing with in middle and high schools, I don’t want to say we’d be happy, but it’d be better than the reality,” Wing said. “We actually have middle school and high school students using heroin, cocaine and prescription pills. The drugs are getting to the kids earlier and earlier.”

Wing said he hopes the community can assist the police in reporting any details and information about drugs, and that the police and community can work together in stopping the flow of drugs throughout the region.

“There’s an anti-cop mentality going on throughout the country,” Wing said, adding that while “it’s only a minority of people who are thinking that way, they’re a very vocal group.”

“We want to show people that we’re here to help get drugs out of western Maine, and without the public’s help, we won’t be able to do it,” Wing said. “We call this a ‘one team fight.’ What that means is that it’s not police versus the community, or vice-versa. We’re one team. A lot of us cops live in the same area that we’re covering. We’re a part of the community, and we want to see drugs cleared out of the area as much as anyone else.”

Chairman Ron Deegan said he believes that the location of felons charged with drug trafficking should be published online in the same vein as sex offenders.

“I want to be able to let my kids know where to stay away from,” Deegan said. “Maybe it could curtail the problem and let the community know where the problem areas are.”

Wing replied that “something like that comes down to the Supreme Court, and what they allow websites to print and not print to protect people’s civil liberties.”

He suggested that residents reach out to their local representatives to offer their suggestions about how to combat the flow of drugs through Western Maine.

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