The recent articles about Maine’s drug situation prompt me to write this letter. Every time I see an article about a welfare program or drug rehabilitation program, I miss the segment that asks: “Is the program working?”

The answer to this question can be found in the numbers. How many people “graduate” from the program? Are people getting off the programs and becoming self-sufficient and productive?

The graduation rate should be the first thing considered, but typically is not considered at all.

Enlarging these programs helps no one, it simply makes people more dependent in the long run.

We should take lessons from Third World countries, where the trend is to teach people how to take care of themselves and support them with resources to do so.

Maine needs to change its focus to teaching people how to lead a productive life. This will make society stronger and lead to less violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and child and spousal abuse.

Federal government programs have declined every year and as such nothing is improving. These programs should be audited for effectiveness at least.

A few thoughts for those who participate in welfare programs or drug rehab programs:

• Don’t give up on life, but rather work to improve it.

• Life has its tough days, but if you live life you will enjoy the upside more than living in the darkness.

• Take lessons from wounded warriors and others with physical and mental challenges. All too often they are the fighters and have more to fight through.

• Do something positive with your life and make it worth the time.

• Responsible parents understand their responsibility to their children and society to teach their children values and to give them a base to take care of themselves

Mike Swanholm Readfield