Augusta – The Maine House of Representatives today voted overwhelmingly to reject a bill that would re-felonize first-time, low-level possession of heroin and other drugs. The House voted 83-63 not to pass LD 1554. The bill will now go back to the Senate, which passed the measure by a slim margin on Tuesday.

The following can be attributed to Oamshri Amarasingham, advocacy director at the ACLU of Maine:

“The House recognized that if we really want to beat the drug problem in Maine, we need new solutions – not more of the same. Turning more Mainers into felons didn’t stop the drug problem before, and it won’t now. People battling addiction should not have to go through the criminal justice system to get the help they need. This is a public health problem, and it should be treated that way.”