Portland Maine Lawyers Discuss Treatment Versus Jail
The solution to the drug problem in this country is not locking up addicts. That is something we believe very strongly.
The goal should be treatment and rehabilitation, this is the only effective and compassionate approach to our nation’s drug problem. If you live in Maine, and you have a friend or a family member who has had contact with the police because of drug problems, we really encourage you to find a lawyer that may be able to help steer him or her away from jail and towards treatment. In the long run, that will be best for everyone. Best for the person struggling with addiction, best for the community, and best for the family.
In today’s video, both founding partners Merritt Heminway and Devens Hamlen talk about the problem.
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Here is a transcript of the video:
Coping with addiction, in and out of court
One of the things we’ve learned since the 70s here in Maine and in this country in general is that the war on drugs as we commonly understand it just doesn’t work, it hasn’t worked. What we do is we lock people up with addiction issues. Although many people here in Maine have understood that that that’s not really the best solution to deal with drug addiction, the laws haven’t adapted to that realization yet. And so possession of heroin in the state of Maine even if it’s a teeny-weeny bit is a felony charge. And a felony conviction will mess with your life dramatically forever and ever.
I believe in my core that addicts or people who are possessing heroin or committing crimes as a result of an addiction shouldn’t be going to prison. It’s the wrong place for them. You cannot punish addiction out of someone. It’s not gonna happen. It’s just not gonna work. So what are we going to be left with after this guy goes to prison for two years. He’s going to come out, maybe had been exposed to drugs at the prison, likely exposed to drugs, the question is whether he engages in them in prison. He comes out and he’s in the same position that he was when he went in, probably worse. And ultimately the goal should be to treat him and rehabilitate him and not to punish him. And what I tell my clients is whether it helps your court case or not, it’s going to help you, and that’s important.
If you have a friend or family member who has had contact with the police around drugs and there are addiction issues there, I would really encourage them to contact an attorney as early as possible in the process. Often times if we can get the resources in place to address the underlying addiction issues we can get a much better results with the criminal issues, later on.