Tags: Maine | babies | addicted | LePage

Gov. LePage: 7 Percent of Maine Babies Addicted at Birth

Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014 01:12 PM

By Courtney Coren

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In 2013, "drug-addicted babies" accounted for 7 percent of all births in Maine, for a total of 927 addicted babies, Gov. Paul LePage said in his State of the State address.

"Each baby addicted to drugs creates a lifelong challenge for our healthcare system, schools, and social services," LePage said in his speech Tuesday, The New York Times reports. "It is unacceptable to me that a baby should be born affected by drugs."

The Maine Republican called the rise in drug-addicted babies a "troubling epidemic" that is "tearing at the social fabric of our communities."

LePage devoted several minutes at the end of the speech to drug addiction, while the majority of the annual talk centered on welfare assistance.

"While some are spending all their time trying to expand welfare, we are losing the war on drugs," LePage said.

He then proposed that legislators both expand law enforcement and add more prosecutors and judges at four different courts throughout the Pine Tree State. He did not address rehabilitation treatment for drug addicts.

"We must hunt down dealers and get them off the streets," he said. "We must protect our citizens from drug-related crimes and violence.

"We must save our babies from lifelong suffering," he added.

Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont also addressed drug addiction in his State of the State address, saying there was "a full-blown heroin crisis" in Vermont, using his entire speech to address the problem.

Shumlin had different proposals, however, for how to deal with the opiate addiction crisis, and said it needs to be treated like a disease and cannot be solved merely through law enforcement.

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