Maine Voices: The key to addressing the addiction epidemic begins with science

BAR HARBOR — Maine is in the midst of an addiction epidemic, with a record number of hospitalizations and deaths from overdose. Lawmakers unanimously passed L.D. 1537 as a first measure to deal with this crisis. Surprisingly, much of the legislative and social debate in Maine about this issue is grounded in an outdated view of addiction, not in modern neuroscience. Addiction has historically been seen as a problem of willpower, a voluntary intake of drugs by addicts who are personally responsible for their actions and should suffer the consequences. Neurobiology and medical communities now widely accept that addiction is a chronic health issue, much like diabetes or hypertension, that can be medically managed with long-term treatment and monitoring. Over the past two decades, neuroscience research has demonstrated that addiction…


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