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Maine police tell gov. heroin problem worsening

October 26, 2013

WESTBROOK, Maine (AP) — Heroin use is becoming more common in Maine and the state’s effort to combat illegal drug use is being threatened by federal budget cuts, Gov. Paul LePage said after meeting with police to discuss the issue.

LePage and Public Safety Commissioner John Morris met Friday with police chiefs and officials in separate meetings in Westbrook and Auburn to hear about the extent of the drug problem.

“Heroin is becoming the drug of choice and it’s cheaper on the street,” LePage said during a news conference following the Westbook meeting.

The severity of the problem shows the importance of continued funding for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, which depends heavily on federal grants, LePage and Morris said.

“The last thing we need to do right now is cut back on MDEA,” LePage said.

The Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1g0fBsU) reported the administration had budgeted money for this year and next to cover an expected federal cut but it was removed when this year’s federal money came through at the last minute.

McKinney said 46 drug agents are at least partially funded by federal money. The administration worries that about $360,000 in federal funds may be cut. That money would then have to be made up with state funds.

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Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

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