Our Opinion: Ignorance undermines battle against heroin


Massachusetts' governor is working hard to find a solution to the state's heroin epidemic and is determined to debunk stereotypes that hinder that process. Then, there is the governor of Maine.

Asked by reporters last week about how he would address his state's heroin epidemic, Maine's Republican governor passed on offering solutions, claiming instead that "guys with the name D-Money, Smoothy, Shifty, these type of guys" invade the state from Connecticut and New York, sell heroin, and return home. Before leaving, added the governor, they often "impregnate a young white girl," leaving the state with "another issue that we gotta deal with down the road."

A LePage spokesman, confronted by the inevitable firestorm, denied the obvious racist implications of the governor's remarks, and then blamed the media. The Washington Post reported that the day of the governor's remarks, the Maine DEA arrested three people for allegedly trafficking in heroin. They were named James, Jody and Donna.

Mr. LePage is accustomed to playing the buffoon, but his remarks hurt the effort to address the heroin plague costing lives and destroying families. Opioid addiction is not a black problem, nor is it one inflicted upon innocent rural areas. Massachusetts' Republican Governor, Charlie Baker, knows this and his response involves education, treatment and ending the over-prescription of painkillers that so often leads to heroin addiction.

Berkshire residents who subscribe to HBO should watch the documentary "Heroin: Cape Cod USA," which explores the heroin problem on Massachusetts' predominantly white cape. Harrowing and enlightening, it shatters the stereotypes advanced by the likes of Mr. LePage.


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