LD 1492, “An Act to Reform Drug Sentencing Laws,” sponsored by Rep. Pinny Beebe-Center of Rockland, “amends the Maine Criminal Code provisions regarding scheduled drugs by relaxing or eliminating provisions regarding trafficking and furnishing, unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, trafficking, furnishing or possession of hypodermic apparatuses, use of drug paraphernalia and trafficking or furnishing of imitation drugs.” That includes drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.

Three local leaders in Augusta — Sen. Ned Claxton of Auburn, Rep. Heidi Brooks of Lewiston and Rep. Gina Melaragno of Auburn — are co-sponsors of LD 1492.

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency says a dose of 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal. Under Rep. Beebe-Center’s proposed changes, a person could be in possession of about 1,750 doses of fentanyl at the deadly 2 mg level and be charged with only a misdemeanor. Can anyone seriously argue that 1,750 lethal doses would be for “personal use”?

Observing the direct and collateral effects of being an ideal host community for a thriving drug trade targeting a large, vulnerable addicted population, remember that none of it “just happened.” Our naive leaders have already done too little to halt the supply of poison rushing into a hurting community. Some of them, with good intentions, don’t understand that they are opening the way for more destruction and fewer consequences.

It is time to roll up the welcome mats for drug dealers and demand that leaders, who claim to be representing our interests in Augusta, do the same.

Maura Murphy, Lewiston

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