After five years of working with the addiction population in methadone clinics as a professional drug and alcohol counselor, I can say that Jordan Ellis (19-year-old’s overdose highlights growing heroin problem in Maine, June 5) is yet another example of how the current programs do not offer the recovery needed. Maine is 8.5 percent higher then the national average of addicted youths. That statistic is begging for a solution.

Jordan was like many young adults trying to figure out how to respond to today’s pressures. Their spirit is being held captive by the manipulation of their addiction and as a certified drug and alcohol counselor, I objectively teach them the mechanics of their behavior and the defining language that helps them to see it from outside the box. I’ve often heard from them, “Why hasn’t anyone else ever taught us this stuff?”

My heart goes out to Leslie and Amber; that was her baby and his life was just beginning. Sheriff Randall Liberty makes valid points about talking to your children. Let them know every day you are paying attention and if you have to have them arrested to save their life, you will do it. Tell them how you would feel to lose them. Let them know you are aware of the world’s woes and how challenging it looks to them as they try to form their future.

People have been self-medicating as a calming response to environmental stressors as long as we have had established social behavior. Working with this population for the past five years has taught me where their barriers are and what kind of program must be designed to help them find and hold on to their strength against such an evil competitor.

Carolyn Blackfeather Rae


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