There were more fatal drug overdoses in Maine in the first six months of this year than in all of 2013.

Gov. Paul LePage’s response to this horrifying news? He keeps a binder full of pictures of drug dealers arrested in Maine, divided by race. Looking at his binder, 90 percent of drug dealers are black or Hispanic, he told a town hall audience on Wednesday night in Berwick.

“Let me tell you this, explain to you, I made the comment that black people are trafficking in our state. Now ever since I said that comment, I’ve been collecting every single drug dealer who has been arrested in our state,” LePage said in response to a question from an audience member, the Portland Press Herald reported. “I don’t ask them to come to Maine and sell their poison, but they come, and I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book, and it’s a three-ringed binder, are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx and Brooklyn.”

The governor added that there were “a whole bunch of white girls” in the pictures, too, harkening back to his comments in January about guys with names such as D-Money, Smoothie and Shifty coming to Maine to sell heroin and “half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave.”

The ACLU of Maine had the perfect response to the governor’s most recent racially charged accusations.

“White people are statistically more likely to sell drugs than black people, yet according to the governor, police in Maine are nine times more likely to arrest black people for doing so,” it said in a statement Thursday. “We don’t know what’s behind this disparity, but we look forward to working with the governor to end any unconstitutional racial profiling that may be occurring.”

Don’t expect the governor to accept this offer. In an angry exchange with reporters outside his State House office Thursday, LePage said: “Let me tell you something: Black people come up the highway, and they kill Mainers. You ought to look into that!”

According to data from the Muskie School, 89 percent of those on probation for drug offenses in Maine between 2004 and 2011 were white. On Friday morning, Maine State Police sent out a press release about the arrest of a drug trafficker in Sanford. He is white. Ditto for the Hampden man arrested earlier in the week with 1,000 bags of heroin in his possession.

This rhetoric is a sad and frustrating reminder of how unserious the governor is about tackling Maine’s most pressing problems, including the rising toll of drug addiction.

But, it gets worse.

Angered that Democratic lawmaker Drew Gattine of Westbrook, a chairman of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, challenged the governor’s remarks, LePage left him an expletive-filled voicemail and threatened Gattine to make it public “because I am after you.”

Later, in an interview with the Press Herald and WMTW, LePage said he wished it were 1825, so he could challenge Gattine to a duel and shoot him “between the eyes.” LePage has bragged about having a safe full of guns.

In a statement Friday, LePage apologized for the offensive name he called Gattine and said his duel reference was “a metaphor” and that he meant no physical harm to Gattine. He didn’t address his comments about black and Hispanic drug dealers.

What if all the energy the governor has devoted to scaring Mainers about black drug dealers and to going after his “ enemies” was spent actually governing Maine? Instead, LePage continues to make a horrible situation even worse.

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The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Opinion Editor Susan Young, Deputy Opinion Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked for the BDN...