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.
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang promises in his platform to “decriminalize the possession and use of small amounts of opioids,” citing similar policy in Portugal to address their own addiction crisis. However, in his April 14 CNN Town Hall, moderator Ana Cabrera pushed Yang about the specifics of his drug decriminalization policy; would he decriminalize drugs like cocaine as well?
By Indri Schaelicke | United States
Since the passage of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the War on Drugs has destroyed countless lives. This campaign often oversteps constitutional restrictions to searches and seizures without warrants or probable cause. Worse than this, however, is the pain it inflicts upon families. For mere use of an illicit substance, the state takes people away from their loved ones.