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Drug addiction an increased threat in Maine

Overall crime is down in Maine, according to the report released by the state's Department of Public Safety detailing 2012 crime statistics. Out of the 15 categories measured, only three – juvenile arrests, domestic violence and robberies increased from 2011 levels. The latter two rose sharply and state officials are singling out drug addiction as the culprit.

There were 56 pharmacy robberies in Maine in 2012. Without them, the state's robbery level would have actually decreased. Drugstore robberies are easy ways for criminals to procure large amounts of prescription medications to sell on the street. It is also common for them to steal pseudoephedrine- the main ingredient in making methamphetamine. Although a prescription is not needed for that drug, it is kept behind the counter and distribution may be restricted in some communities.

The number of pharmacy robberies is especially startling in Maine because it is disproportionate to its rural population. It has more drugstore theft per capita than any surrounding state.

"Burglars continue to be an issue, especially for the elderly in certain parts of the state," said Maine Public Safety Commissioner John Morris in a statement. "Bad guys target the elderly because there is the supposition there are drugs in medicine chests." In addition, there were five drug-related homicides in the state in 2012.

Although not directly related to crime, another startling statistic revealed in the state's report showed that the number of drug-addicted newborns is readily increasing. There were 779 born in 2012, and that number is estimated to increase to over 1,000 for the year 2013.

Drug addiction is an epidemic that affects urban and rural communities equally. If someone you love needs help, Intervention Services is able to provide you with an experienced drug addiction interventionist.

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