This web page is designed to provide information to community members and legislators about key issues related to substance abuse and policies that have the potential to impact substance abuse in Maine.

Key Substance Abuse Issues in Maine & Aroostook County

  • Substance abuse costs all Mainers: $898.4 million or $682/resident1

  • Alcohol is the most deadly and most costly drug abused:
    • Alcohol kills 6.5 times more teens than all other illegal drug combined.
    • In 2005, alcohol abuse alone costs Mainers $569.6 million.
    • Mainers are currently paying for most of the costs of alcohol abuse, with minimal contributions from the alcohol industry and individuals who abuse alcohol.
  • Prescription drug abuse is a significant and growing problem:
    • In 2007, 80% of accidental drug related deaths were caused by a pharmaceutical.2
    • In 2008 64% of MDEA cases in Aroostook County were related to prescription drug diversion or abuse.

  • Prevention is not adequately funded: Maine currently does not have a mechanism for funding implementation of comprehensive substance abuse prevention statewide. Ironically, research demonstrates that, when funded adequately and implemented in an ongoing and comprehensive manner, prevention decreases substance abuse and its financial and human costs. Investment in prevention can save lives and money spent on addressing the consequences of substance abuse.3

2010 Substance Abuse Related Legislation Being Reviewed by the Maine Legislature

LD 791: An Act To Prohibit Furnishing a Place for Minors To Use Illegal Drugs: This bill prohibits the furnishing of a place for minors to use illegal drugs.

LD 821 An Act To Support Collection and Proper Disposal of Unwanted Drugs: This bill establishes a system to collect and safely dispose of unwanted drugs from households and other residential sources.

LD 833 An Act To Distribute Funds Received from the Racino in Bangor to the DHHS, Office of Substance Abuse: This bill redirects 3% of revenues from slot machines that currently go to the Gambling Control Board Board to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Substance Abuse for use in the treatment of addictions.

LD 1437 An Act To Permit Video Gaming for Money Conducted by Nonprofit Organizations: This bill allows operation of video gaming terminals by nonprofit organizations that are eligible for games of chance licenses and that are exempt from federal tax under Internal Revenue Code, Section 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(8), 501(c)(10) or 501(c)(19). Persons under 21 years of age are not allowed to use the machines. Only members of the organization and their guests are allowed to play. The maximum dollar amount for each play is $5 and the maximum payout is $1,250. Each game on each machine must return at least 80% of wagers to players, calculated on an annual basis. Net terminal income, which is income after payback to players, is divided as follows: 8% to the State for payment into the Video Gaming Fund for administrative expenses, municipal revenue sharing and Public Education Fund revenue; 2% to the Compulsive Gambler Rehabilitation Fund; and 90% to the licensee.

LR 2039 An Act Regarding the Sale of Malt Liquor from a Mobile Service Bar on a Golf Course: Current law does not address a municipal golf course that contracts for service on the golf course with an outside vendor who holds the liquor license. This bill would allow for an employee of the contracted licensee to serve malt liquor on the golf course while providing shared responsibility between the contracted licensees and the municipal golf course for violations.

LR 2066 An Act To Amend the Laws Pertaining to the Taste Testing of Alcoholic Beverages: This bill would amend the laws pertaining to the tasting of alcoholic beverages by limiting tastings to places where children would most likely not be present.

LR 2177 An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Juvenile Justice Task Force

LR 2192 An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Taste Testing of Alcoholic Beverages: This bill would repeal current language requiring retail licensees for the sale of alcoholic beverages to be consumed off the premises to conduct taste-testing activities in a manner that precludes the possibility of observation by children and replaces that language with a requirement to post signs alerting parents to the times and dates of tasting events taking place in the stores, thereby allowing parents to assume the responsibility of making a decision regarding whether or not their children may be exposed to observing an alcoholic beverage taste-testing activity. The bill also would correct a drafting error in the original legislation by amending the requirement that retailers stock a minimum number of malt beverage products in order to qualify to conduct taste-testing activity by replacing the term "brands" with "labels," thereby making the language consistent with the provisions for wine.

LR 2416 An Act To Clarify the Laws Governing Instant Redeemable Coupons Included in Spirits Product: This bill would clarify that instant redeemable coupons included with a spirits product may be attached to the product by an agent of the manufacturer or the manufacturer's sales representative.

LR 2477 An Act to Streamline Wine Registration: The bill would establish in statute a provision currently governed by rule that sets the fee and procedure for registration of wine labels by a certificate of approval holder.



Maine Office of Substance Abuse. (2007). The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Maine, 2005: Executive Summary December, 2007

2 Office of the Chief Medical Examiner; Calculated by Marcella Sorg, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, UMAINE—Orono

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2001). Advances Newsletter. http://www.jointogether.org/news/research/summaries/2001/experts-identify-effective.html