Law decriminalizing possession of certain drug paraphanelia takes effect

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A new law decriminalizing possession of certain drug paraphernalia took effect in Maine Monday.

The law eliminates criminal penalties for possessing syringes, fentanyl testing strips, and other safer-use supplies for ingesting substances.

The law aims to encourage safe and sanitary practices by removing the threat of a criminal record for those seeking clean supplies.

Possession of these tools previously resulted in up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Genevieve McDonald, D-Stonington, said in her public testimony,

“We know that having laws in place that discourage the acquisition and use of clean needles increases the spread of infections and diseases like HIV and hepatitis and do not help people break free from an addiction,” said McDonald.

She also noted hospitalization costs of infections caused by unsanitary supplies is a burden on the healthcare system.

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