Today, U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon visited Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset with Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry and Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett to learn about Two Bridges’ substance use disorder treatment program and discuss how the federal government can work with local law enforcement to combat the opioid epidemic.
“We need to treat the opioid crisis like the public health issue it is, and Lincoln and Sagadahoc Counties are leading the way in providing the kind of treatment and support individuals in recovery need at Two Bridges Regional Jail,” said U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon. “In the State House, I’m proud of the work we’ve done with law enforcement to give them the resources they need to combat the opioid epidemic. In the Senate, I’ll continue that fight so Maine’s law enforcement officers have the resources they need to keep our communities safe and help fight the opioid epidemic.”
“In the State House, Sara Gideon has always been a strong supporter of Maine’s law enforcement and we are grateful for her work to give us the resources we need to protect our communities,” said Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry. “From sending more resources to law enforcement to support our fight against the opioid crisis to negotiating a budget that increased state police funding by more than $1 million last year, Sara has always been there for us. I am confident that Sara will continue to be a strong supporter of Maine’s law enforcement in the Senate.”
A report released this summer showed that drug overdose deaths in Maine jumped 23% during the first three months of 2020 compared to the final quarter of 2019, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic. The spike in overdose deaths has prompted advocates to sound the alarm for more resources and support to fight the epidemic, and caused the Bangor Daily News Editorial Board to call for “urgent attention” to address the crisis.
In the State House, Sara led the charge to override Governor LePage’s veto of her bills to address the opioid crisis that have saved hundreds of lives across the state. Sara also supported legislation that expanded opioid addiction treatment and prevention programs, gave law enforcement more resources to fight the epidemic, and passed a “Good Samaritan” law that protects individuals who report a drug-related emergency from prosecution.
In August, Sara released her Health Care Agenda, which outlines action she would take as Maine’s senator to address the opioid crisis. Her plan calls for implementing a comprehensive plan to end the opioid epidemic that includes expanding access to affordable addiction treatment, creating bridge programs, funding education and prevention efforts as well as public health research, and holding big pharmaceutical companies accountable for their actions.