Crime Rates Up in Maine Due Largely to Prescription Drug Abuse

Though Maine is one of the safest places to live in the US, its crime rate rose by more than 5% in 2011, the largest increase in 36 years. This jump, which also occurred the year before, is in contrast to the rest of the nation.

According to the FBI, violent crime dropped 4% and property crimes dropped 0.08% nationally in 2011.

So, why are Maine’s crime stats going up? The short answer is drug addiction.

Public Safety Commissioner John Morris said in a recent Portland Press Herald article that “Drugs are the main reason for the increase as addicts commit crimes to feed their habits. Prescription drug abuse is responsible for much of the state’s drug problem.”

Crossroads, who has seen the rise of prescription drug abuse over the past few years in Maine, was interviewed by WMTW-8 for a news story on the subject. Shannon Trainor, Crossroads’ clinical director, noted that “We do see people who really are in the depths of addiction do things that they always say they would have never done. Sometimes people sell themselves for drugs. They break into pharmacies, stranger’s houses. They even steal from their own family and friends because they’re not themselves. They are really battling with addiction.”

Police across the state are working together to fight the crime that comes from those looking to fund their drug supply.

Early intervention and getting treatment for those who are struggling with drug addiction are key to decreasing Maine’s crime rates.

If you or someone you know needs help in Maine, call Crossroads at 207.773.9931.

Sources: WMTW, Portland Press Herald