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Embrace recovery solutions
Maine is not a stranger to the overdose death crisis. We are already on pace to have our deadliest year for overdose deaths. September is Recovery Month, and I’m writing to support replacing our punitive policies driven by stigma with effective, evidence-based, and compassionate solutions.
When overdose deaths occur, I think we all have the same reaction: Wishing the departed could have had the help they needed. Our reaction typically isn’t, “That person really should’ve been in jail,” and yet this is the remedy our state still relies on today.
Punishing substance use with jail time doesn’t work. People who use drugs are more likely to overdose and die after being released from jail or prison. In addition, a criminal record makes it exponentially more difficult to access housing and employment, two key components to entering long-term recovery.
If we want to support recovery, we need to change our policies and stop putting people in jail for using drugs. There is momentum for this. Last session, a bill known as LD 967 would have stopped punishing substance use with jail time and instead created a pathway to recovery. Doctors, harm reduction providers, and people in recovery overwhelmingly supported this bill, and it passed in the House.
I hope that lawmakers will honor Recovery Month by taking the time to learn more about evidence-based solutions, listen to people who are closest to the issue, and support policies like LD 967 in the future.
Outstanding edition of the paper
Congratulations on an outstanding edition of the BDN on Sept. 11. Your coverage of the anniversary of the Twin Towers attack from the vantage point of Maine people personally affected was beautifully done. It was clear that the writers of the various stories felt an almost solemn obligation that their subject matter demanded their very best journalistic efforts. The resulting stories were written in a prose that captured the impact of the event in both its international ramifications and its profoundly personal tragedies which called forth from the reader his own emotions of that day.
While the BDN, like most large and important businesses, has been besieged by the negative economic realities of the past several years demanding downsizing and other cost-cutting measures, this most recent edition reminds us of its importance as a resource for truth and for journalistic excellence. I am personally very grateful for that.
Golden fails to lead
Rep. Jared Golden’s irresponsible position against federal vaccine mandates proves once again that when the squeeze is on, when the situation calls for leadership and telling his constituents the hard truth, I think he will fold like a cheap lawn chair when facing a loud minority rather than do what’s right. In my opinion, he can’t be counted on.
Vaccine mandates are not a violation of our Constitution; that question was settled in the courts long ago. The vaccinated majority are tired and getting more and more angry that so many people are willing hosts to COVID and filling up hospitals. That’s why the Biden administration is confident that they can mandate vaccination as a condition of employment. I think the law and the people are on their side. Golden has once again played a Trump card instead of being a leader or supporting the leader of his party.
Smallpox no longer exists because it was denied any hosts by universal vaccination. Children no longer have to endure that vaccine, administered using a huge multi needle tattoo gun, and leaving a scar for life. We had Polio almost eradicated, but in some countries such as Afghanistan, enemies of the United States convinced gullible people that the vaccine is poisonous, so our children still have to get vaccinated for polio.
If we want a world where fewer vaccines are required, then we need to get on board with the program and eliminate infectious diseases by the only proven method: Denying the disease a host through universal vaccination.