I wrote to Gov. Paul LePage several months ago about going to the high schools to speak about substance abuse and its effects. I never received an answer.

From December of 1968 to July of 2006, I was in and out of jail. Sixteeen years in a cage is a lot of on-the-job training.

I knew in 1976, when the state did away with parole and started flat sentences, that Thomaston would fill up quickly; with 30-, 40-, 60-year sentences, the state would have to build another prison. The prison in Warren is about twice as big as the old prison in Thomaston, and it’s still full, as are the county jails.

Today, as a recovered alcoholic and drug addict, I’m getting close to nine years without a drink or a drug or an arrest. None of it is thanks to Department of Corrections. A “free” 12-step program that I chose to accept as an escape from the atrocious life I had so far. I’ll be 62 soon, my life and my family have never been better.

I would like Gov. Paul LePage to ask Sheriff Randall Liberty about the Criminogenic Addiction & Recovery Academy at the Kennebec County jail. In my opinion, it is the best rehabilitation program in the world so far. To participate, an inmate has to admit he or she has a problem, and it’s there free of charge.

Addiction is a very powerful dragon on a person’s back, but help is available, if they just ask.

Drugs and alcohol affect millions of people daily, and a large percentage of today’s crimes are drug-related. Thirty or 40 years ago, nobody robbed drug stores. President Richard Nixon started our war on drugs? It’s been the longest war yet, with no end in sight.

Andre Beaudoin


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