I really hope that the Legislature passes LD 1492 — An Act to Reform Drug Sentencing Laws — this year. The bill proposes a path to treatment and recovery for those suffering from a substance use disorder who, too often, become entangled in our legal system.

I will celebrate four years of recovery in May, but I have been actively seeking recovery for more than seven years. To reiterate, I did not find recovery on my first try. Few people do.

Many of us end up in prison with a felony record. That record follows them and makes it that much harder to get a job, housing and to get their life stabilized so they can get the help they need.

I have been arrested twice, both times while I was actively using substances. I am fortunate that I had people in my corner who loved me unconditionally because when I was arrested with a class C felony and class D misdemeanor, I had people who showed up to support me. I am a person of privilege because I was put on deferred disposition and afforded an opportunity to seek help. I have been one of the fortunate few that was given treatment instead of felonies and, because of that, I have found a life of recovery.

I want that chance for all Mainers and if the Legislature passes LD 1492 they could bring hope and recovery to so many families.

Chantel St. Laurent, Lewiston

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