Maine chief justice proposes expanding drug courts to address opioid crisis

Judy Harrison, Special to The County
6 years ago

The chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday recommended in her annual address to lawmakers the creation of a “full wrap-around drug court” as an alternative to traditional drug courts.

Leigh I. Saufley said Gov. Paul LePage has given his blessing to a proposed pilot project that would include immediate and extensive access to addiction treatment, mental health treatment, sober housing, job training, transportation, family-related services and long-term followup.

“The stark reality is: People are dying; families are hurting; communities feel helpless,” Saufley told legislators. “We know that we are not alone — this is happening in many other states. But we should not sugar-coat it. What we, in government, are doing is not enough. We have to try harder. We need to match our own sense of urgency with rapid access to treatment and seriously comprehensive followup.”

Her announcement of the project drew a standing ovation from lawmakers.

“If we are able to fund this project, it must include thorough evaluations

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