LD 1492 “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.” Ask people in San Francisco, Seattle, Portland or Vancouver how that approach is working out.

Under this bill, heroin, cocaine in all forms, oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, methamphetamine and fentanyl can be possessed or trafficked up to 3.5 grams. The Drug Enforcement Agency says a 2 mg dose of fentanyl is enough to be fatal for most people. Unless my elementary school math skills have deteriorated, that means a person may be in possession of 1750 doses of fentanyl — wildly beyond a “personal consumption” amount — and go on his merry way peddling poison in a community that can afford it less with each passing day?

While the “war on drugs” might have been a failure, the idea that something closer to a free-for-all for dealers, which LD 1492 opens the way for, could somehow improve the well-being of Maine communities is a dangerous, preposterous assertion. LD 1492 gives cover to predators to further exploit the most vulnerable among us and deceives victims of addiction — and the people they harm, including children, families, businesses and victims of drug-related crime — into accepting a hellish reality that would be better prevented rather than facilitated, or for the luckiest, “managed” with a growing constellation of rehab services of varying quality and effectiveness.

Maura Murphy, Lewiston

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