Election 2018: Meehan files for Kent County State’s Attorney; Opioid Crisis is Priority One

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Andrew Meehan, local attorney and Still Pond resident, has filed to run for State’s Attorney for Kent County in the Democratic primary, renewing his promise to make tackling the Opioid Crisis as Priority No. 1. Meehan was the 2014 Democratic nominee.

Andrew Meehan, candidate for State’s Attorney, with campaign treasurer Beverly Birkmire.

“While Kent County has low crime rates, heroin and other opioid abuse continue to gnaw at our community’s core,” Meehan remarked. “In the past decade, we have seen a dramatic increase in opioid abuse, often resulting in overdoses requiring heroic lifesaving efforts by law enforcement and other first responders and sometimes tragic, avoidable deaths,” Andy reflected.

“I renew my pledge to support law enforcement with strong prosecutions to send drug dealers to jail, to help addicts seek treatment, and to work with community organizations on the front lines of educating adults and youth about the risks of opioid abuse.”

“I have practiced law for 30 years representing foster children, vulnerable adults, and families affected by domestic violence,” Meehan said. “The destructive havoc of opioid addiction is a common thread in many cases.”

Meehan is a native of Alexandria, Virginia. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1984 and earned his law degree from Washington & Lee University in 1987. He practiced in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia before moving to Kent County in 2001. He is a trial lawyer practicing with Charles D. “Chip” MacLeod at the MacLeod Law Group in Chestertown.

His wife Mattie is a former Maryland Parole Commissioner and is currently a social worker with the Kent County Department of Social Services. They raised their three sons, Crenshaw, William, and Henry, in Still Pond. Meehan is president of the Chestertown Rotary Club, treasurer of the Kent County Bar Association, a member of St. Paul’s Parish, Kent, and has worked with other community organizations.

Beverly Birkmire will serve as Meehan’s campaign treasurer. A retired local banker and lifelong Democrat, Beverly is a board member of the Chestertown Rotary Club (past president), Foundation for the Kent County Public Library (treasurer), Kent County Department of Social Services Advisory Board, and 2018 Seminar co-chair of the American Quilt Study Group.

“I have known Andy for many years and respect him as a highly qualified and conscientious attorney, family man, and community leader,” Birkmire said. “Maryland and Kent County are caught in an Opioid Crisis and Andy is the right choice as State’s Attorney at this critical time.”

 

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Letters to Editor

  1. Bill Anderson says:

    Evidently Mr. Meehan holds a belief that the opioid crisis is more of a legal problem than a health-related one that requires treatment??

  2. Deirdre LaMotte says:

    Fantastic! You will be suberb Andy!

  3. Andrew Meehan says:

    Dear Editor:

    I thank Mr. Anderson for his comment.

    The Opioid Crisis has become a coast-to-coast healthcare epidemic on a catastrophic scale that at times seems to dwarf our abilities to contend with it socially and economically. Opioid addiction crosses socio-economic barriers and is the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50. Addicted persons often start as patients seeking medical treatment for injuries and legally prescribed pain relief. Another common path, especially for our youth, starts with access to other family members’ unused opioids.

    The State’s Attorney must play a leadership role when it comes to prosecuting persons charged with crimes, including distribution and possession of opioids and other illegal drugs, as well as crimes against persons and property crimes, often perpetrated to support addictions.

    I do not intend to suggest I have all of the answers to this complex and vexing problem, but I do believe the Opioid Crisis requires a multi-faceted approach, including prosecuting drug dealers to disrupt access to illegal opioids and other drugs. Supporting law enforcement with strong prosecutions is the responsibility of the State’s Attorney. Removing dealers from the community and disrupting access to illegal opioids will help to reduce the seemingly never-ending overdoses, deaths, and collateral damage opioid abuse leaves in its wake. It also enables law enforcement and first responders to serve the broader community by reducing the need to render emergency aid to addicts in overdose situations.

    The issue is not one-dimensional or more of a legal problem than a health-related one. Locking up drug dealers alone won’t get us out of this mess. Addicts who enter the criminal justice system must be given the opportunity to seek treatment, and even fail at treatment, as they work to regain control of their lives. Furthermore, if elected as State’s Attorney I pledge to advocate for proper funding for the agencies and individuals who work day in and day out with persons with addictions.

    Just as important, the State’s Attorney needs to with work with our schools and other community organizations on the front lines of educating adults and youth about the allure and stranglehold that opioids present.

    On this point, I encourage the Spy’s readers to familiarize themselves with the “Talbot Goes Purple” youth outreach project led by the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Easton’s Tidewater Rotary Club. https://www.talbotgoespurple.org/ It is an innovative program to engage young people on this issue. In Kent County, community organizations such as the Local Drug and Alcohol Council, the judiciary, law enforcement and our other first responders, as well as other community stakeholders, including the Chestertown Rotary Club, are collaborating to deliver that message.

    But we must rise to the challenge.

    Andrew C. Meehan
    Democratic Candidate, Kent County State’s Attorney

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