Sheriffs say Substance Abuse at a Crisis Level in Aroostook

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AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine - Challenges from substance abuse continue to effect Aroostook County and the state of Maine. The challenge is not isolated to a single substance, but rather a collection of them.

"Whether it's alcohol, whether it's marijuana, methamphetamine, bath salts and other illegal drugs," Peter McCorison, Program Director of AMHC, says.

Substance abuse is more prevalent than ever before in the County.

Sheriff Darrell Crandall says. "What point does it stop becoming an epidemic and start to become a crisis. Whenever it does we're there."

Local law enforcement says their hands are tied when trying to address this issue.

"We can't police our way out of this drug problem. It just is impossible to do," Presque Isle Police Chief, Matt Irwin says.

Both Crandall and Irwin say The problems with the lack of control on the issue is linked to lack of state funding.

"There was never adequate resources applied to any of the things we need to do," Sheriff Crandall says.

Irwin says, "There is almost nothing being done in Aroostook County in terms of what the state is offering up to help with addiction problems."

The first step is prevention. Something McCorison, says needs to happen before law enforcement gets involved.

"But we need interventions all the way along, so whether it's link for hope healthy Maine partnerships, we need to be looking at how do we engage around prevention."

Local officials can agree that if change were to come, it would have to start from the state.

"We need a statewide a concise action oriented state wide effort to confront what the citizens of the state of Maine and the citizens of Aroostook County are confronted with," McCorison says.

Sheriff Crandall says more people begin the downward spiral of substance abuse on a daily basis, and all resources must be available to find a viable solution.