Coast Guard on front lines of region’s opioid crisis


THE PROBLEM IN THE MARITIME INDUSTRY. >>COAST GUARD HEADQUARTERS, IS IN NORTHERN MAINE. OVER SEEING SEARCH AND RESCUE, SAFETY, AND MARINE ENVIRONMENT ISSUES ALONG MAINE AND NEW HAMPSHIRE’S COAST LINE ALONG WITH LAKE CHAMPLAIN IN VERMONT AND PART OF NEW YORK. AND IT’S ON ADDED ALERT.>>WE’RE DEFINITELY MORE VIGILANT OUT THERE ON THE WATER BECAUSE WE RECOGNIZE IT IS AFFECTING THE MARITIME INDUSTRY AS WELL.>>THE MAIN REASON FOR BOARDING FISHING VESSELS AND PLEASURE BOATS HAS BEEN TO MAKE SURE THEY’RE OPERATING SAFELY. THEY ALSO CHECK FOR SIGNS OF IMPAIRMENT. NOW IN ADDITION TO ALCOHOL, PERSONNEL ARE GETTING TRAINING FROM DRUG RECOGNITION EXPERTS.>>WE KNOW THIS IS SOME ACTIVITY OCCURRING. WE’VE ACTUALLY SEEN A COUPLE CASES WHERE DRUG USE CONTRIBUTED MOST LIKELY TO AN ACCIDENT AND THE OPIOID CRISIS HAS HIT HOME PERSONALLY FOR US IN THE COAST GUARD. WE LOST A YOUNG PERSON EARLIER, ACTUALLY LATER LAST YEAR TO AN OVERDOSE. >>THEY USE A LAYERED SAFETY APPROACH. THE LARGEST CUTTERS LIKE THE ONES STATIONED AT THE PORTSMOUTH NAVAL YARD WORK WAY OFFSHORE. 47 AND 29 FOOTERS LIKE THOSE IN PORTLAND AND THE COAST GUARD STATION IN NEW CASTLE PATROL THE HARBORS AND IMMEDIATE COAST CHECKING FOR ILLEGAL CARGO INCLUDING DRUGS IS NOT NEW. BUT COLLABORATION WITH LOCAL STATE AND FEDERAL PARTNERS INVOLVED IN OUR CURRENT CRISIS THAT GET HERE IN VEHICLES COULD COME BY BOAT. >>AS LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS ON LAND START TO PICK UP AND THEY START FOCUSING ON A THE I-95 BORDER, THERE IS A VERY REAL POSSIBILITY THAT TRAFFICERS COULD MOVE TO LESS GUARDED AREAS LIKE THE MARITIME FRONT AND EASILY START TRYING TO SHIP ON WATERWAYS.>>THE COAST GUARD’S MESSAGE IS

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