Chief Robert MacKenzie runs a police department in Kennebunk, Maine, a town of just over 11,000 citizens. It is a tourist town with a small, tight-knit community on the coast. His plans to fix the opioid crisis in America, however, are anything but small. Maine sits near the top of a notorious list. It’s ranked in the top ten for most opioid deaths in the country. In 2016, there were 301 opioid-related overdose deaths in Maine, a rate of 25.2 deaths per 100,000 persons, nearly double the national rate. Maine has struggled with drug and addiction problems for years, and the solutions have been slim and ineffective from the statehouse in Augusta.
By Indri Schaelicke | United States
The United States currently has 5% of the world’s population, yet has over 25% of all incarcerated individuals. These numbers are shocking: how can a country that claims the be the bastion of freedom imprison so many of its own citizens? The answer is that the United States currently punishes people for their addictions. In 2016 alone, police arrested 1,249,025 people for drug possession.