As the second largest city in Maine, Lewiston has a population of 35 thousand people across 25 square miles. Lewiston and Auburn are often considered to be the same and are referred to as Lewiston-Auburn or "L/A". Combined the two areas have a population of 59 thousand.
The former inhabitants of the Lewiston area, the Androscoggin tribe, were facing annihilation from English attacks and new infectious disease epidemics. So the emigrated to Quebec in 1669, but were only there until around 1680 when they were driven out of the area after King Philip's War.
Almost 100 years later, in 1768, a grant consisting of the area of Lewiston was given to two members of the Pejepscot Proprietors, they named the area Lewiston and at it began to grow as a settlement. Just short of thirty years later the town was officially incorporated and today four of the houses that have survived from this time still remain in the city and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The city grew a lot more rapidly in the early to mid-19th century as water power began coming into heavy use, since it was located on the Androscoggin River it was in a prime location for this emerging industry. But the city's industry growth would decline after World War I. Businesses in the area began moving to the South where there were lower costs from more modern technologies and many of Lewiston's textile mills began closing down resulting in a run down and abandoned downtown area. This decline in businesses and population lasted all the way until the 1990's.
Lewiston Drug Investigation Leads to Ten More Arrests:
A month long investigation into cocaine and heroin trafficking in the Lewiston area came to an end with an early morning raid at 20 different locations throughout the Lewiston Auburn area. Nine people were arrested on different drug related charges, two more were picked up in New York City and three other suspects were already in jail on unrelated matters. All fourteen have been charged now in federal court.
Now 10 more people have been arrested in connection with the same drug investigation and are facing state charges in the Androscoggin County Superior Court. These 24 arrests are hoped to send a message to drug dealers that they are in the wrong line of business and that the police and drug enforcement agencies are coming for them.
The people facing state charges in this drug sting were:
Ahmed S. Mohamed, 19, of Lewiston
Larry Tower, 52, of Lewiston
Debra Jean Hrbacek, 48, of Lewiston
Hassan Shamarr Miller, 20, of Lewiston
David A. Cole, 27, of Lewiston
Nichole J. Doyle, 30, of Lewiston
Hector Cedeno, 20, of Lewiston
Breanna Lee, 23, of Lewiston
April Lynn Collins, 33, of Auburn
Anthony Leonard, 45, of Lewiston
Tasheem Carter, 29, of Far Rockaway, New York, and Lewiston
Christian Dent, 31, of Far Rockaway, New York, and Lewiston
Sabree Branch, 23, of Philadelphia and Lewiston
Michael Boney, 28, of Far Rockaway, New York, and Auburn
Isar Coleman, 31, of Lewiston
Angela Crabtree, 32, of Auburn
Katelynn Dubois, 21, of Wales
Lee Eirby, 66, of Lewiston
Isaac Fofie, 26, of New Sharon
Kourtney Francoeur, 21, of Lewiston
Jamel Hamilton, of Far Rockaway, New York
Willie Jackson, 32, of Lewiston
Rebecca Thompson, 33, of Lewiston
Barney Whitfield, 33, of Lewiston
The charges ranged from possession with intent to distribute to aggravated trafficking.
Gov. LePage Calls for Reinforcements in Drug Battle:
Gov. Paul LePage made an argument to increase drug enforcement efforts. This is the second attempt in two years to increase funds for more agents for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, drug prosecutors and judges. His proposal would cost approximately $4 million dollars per year, which is a scaled back version of last year’s proposal.
Lawmakers did pass a compromise version of the 2014 bill and added money for drug treatment program but never funded the proposal. LePage laid down the blame for Maine's drug problem on the lawmakers that he urges to pass his latest proposal and was also quoted as saying:
“You should be disgusted at the behavior of some of these legislators that want to continue to ignore the killing of our children. They are weak on drugs. They simply don’t want to deal with the problem.”
LePage also brought up infants who are born with drug dependencies at a news conference. The Department of Public Safety has reports to back this claim up as well. In 2014 there were 961 babies born with drug dependencies and this number has been steadily increasing, being only at 394 recorded in 2009.
Debate is ongoing over the correct way to deal with the state drug problem and finding the right balance between treatment and enforcement. Some people believe that treatment for drug addiction is far superior to incarceration as it addresses the actual cause of their crimes. While this is true, you cannot discount that drugs lead people to violent crimes quite often and that enforcement is very much needed.
Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine are opposed to initiatives that plan to address the situation through increased enforcement only. They believe that by increasing the amount of treatment facilities you will open up that as an option to the thousands of people who don't have access either because they cannot afford it or because the free centers are booked full months in advance.
Drug Treatment Options in Lewiston, Maine:
Lewiston, Maine has 10 drug rehab centers available for people who are seeking help for their addiction to drugs or alcohol. Of these, nine of them deal only in outpatient care and one of them offers inpatient care through a long term residential stay program.
When dealing with serious addiction, inpatient care is far more effective and if you are unable to have your loved one stay at that particular facility, it would be worth it to seek another inpatient care center located out of the city.