BANGOR, Maine — Six police departments from Limestone to Scarborough are being distributed a combined $1.3 million in funding from the Department of Justice to hire, preserve or rehire law enforcement officers, and with the synthetic drug bath salts plaguing the state, it couldn’t have come at a better time, according to U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.
The funding was awarded through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Fiscal Year 2011 Hiring Program.
The towns and the amounts they will receive are: Limestone, $181,380; Lincoln, $193,553; Greenville, $205,826; Dixfield, $189,617; Richmond, $165,22 and Scarborough, $410,932.
Snowe wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin last week and requested the agencies lead a targeted strategy to increase public awareness of bath salts.
Bath salts are synthetic drugs that became illegal in Maine this summer, and police officers say users of the drugs can experience hallucinations, convulsions, psychotic episodes and thoughts of suicide.
In her letter, Snowe also requested that the federal agencies address access to and abuse of bath salts and enhance efforts to seize shipments of mephedrone and MDPV, two substances found in the drug.
“The severity of these dangerous drugs cannot be overstated, and their prevalence in Maine is deeply concerning,” Snowe said. “The efforts of law enforcement and other community leaders to stop its spread are commendable, but the continuing ease of access to these substances requires an additional federal response.”
Snowe is also a co-sponsor of S 490, legislation written by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., which would add MDPV and mephedrone to the list of controlled substances, making their possession and sale illegal in the United States.