AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage has proposed a network of new county-run community substance abuse programs, along with creating a dedicated fund to support them.

LePage has proposed LD 1674, An Act to Create Community Substance Abuse Programs, which was unveiled to the Legislature on Thursday. The bill calls on sheriffs in Maine’s 16 counties to create community substance abuse programs within county jails.

The programs would be administered at the county level but would have to adhere to rules from the Department of Corrections, which would be developed at a later date.

The bill also includes directives for the court system. It would require that courts impose a prison sentence in drug cases but suspend all of it for offenders with no prior drug or violent crime convictions. Offenders would be given probation with conditions they complete a 12-month substance abuse program and submit to electronic monitoring and daily testing for illegal drug and alcohol use.

The bill proposes the establishment of the Community Substance Abuse Fund to reimburse counties for setup and operational expenses but does not detail how that fund would be supported.

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