Drug prices too high

Prescription drug prices are increasing and causing a major concern primarily among Mainers over 50. The AARP Public Policy Institute discovered the cost of brand-name drugs most commonly used by older adults rose by 8.4 percent last year, four times the general rate of inflation.

The average annual cost for one medication is about $6,800, and with the majority of older Americans taking between four and five medications, this estimates to about $30,000 a year for them. On average, retirees receive about $1,404 a month from Social Security, totaling a yearly average of about $16,848 in Social Security benefits. This means that medication is costing more than an entire average Social Security income for a year, and that is unacceptable. Medications are often necessary to maintain a stable life, and the fact that a price tag has the ability to constitute life or death is appalling.

As a granddaughter of older Mainers who have been long patrons and advocates of this state, it would be tragic to see days shed from their lives because they couldn’t afford a pill the size of a lucky charm; not so lucky now are we.

Amanda Bustard


Trump empowers hate

The escalating number of rabidly violent assaults and murders of American citizens, committed by predatory men who claim allegiance to the man who occupies the Oval Office comes as no surprise in light of his inflammatory rhetoric over the past several years. “When you spew hate speech, people act on it. Very simple. And this is the result. A lot of people dead. Senselessly,” said Stephen Cohen, co-president of New Light Congregation.

After the horrific slaughter of people during a service at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, just days after a man filled with hate sent mail bombs to a number of people, few Americans would disagree with the president’s assessment: “It’s a terrible, terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country and frankly all over the world, and something has to be done.”

The man who gave this view is the same man whose language and distortions of facts empower his followers to engage in violence against anyone with whom they disagree: the “others” — immigrants, nonwhites, Jews, Muslims and people of different sexual preference.

The president’s tongue spreads a terrible disease that infects everyone around him and throughout the country. He has within himself the cure to this violence. Most Americans must devoutly hope for him:

“Good Lord be cured of this diseased opinion, and betimes; for ’tis most dangerous” (The Winter’s Tale: 1.2.11).

Robert Lyons


Ban the bag

Although plastic bags may be useful for briefly carrying your groceries from the store to your house, they can leave behind a thousand years worth of detrimental effects to the environment. Every year, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, Americans use 100 billion plastic shopping bags. Even more unfortunate, only 1 percent of those bags are recycled. The other 99 percent are thrown into the trash or end up floating in our oceans killing thousands of marine animals every year.

Recently, Maine municipalities, such as Cape Elizabeth, South Portland, Belfast and several others, have adopted bans on the use of plastic bags. These bans encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags or pay a fee. Bans on plastic bags are an important step to reducing our carbon footprints and keeping our planet cleaner.

Because of the detrimental effects that plastic pollution entails, it is vital that other municipalities in Maine place a ban on plastic bags. This way, Maine can become a leader in reducing our carbon footprints and keeping our planet pristine.

Ian Norman


Maine needs more young people

I was fascinated by Lori Valigra’s article on Joseph Seefried’s purchase of the Penobscot Adventures whitewater rafting company. As someone who grew up in the urban culture of southern California, I find it interesting that a 23-year-old would decide to live and work in the most rural state in the country.

Don’t get me wrong, I am neither criticizing Seefried’s decision nor belittling Maine of its rural culture. It’s just that I’m familiar with the stories of young men and women leaving their small hometowns to study or work in big cities, but I rarely hear of young people continuing local businesses in environments that I feel seem so contrasting to youth.

But beyond my fascination, I think Maine needs more people like Seefried, and it’s good to see that young people of Maine are not as eager to leave the state as I initially thought. Maine needs more young blood to counter the aging population and the increasing dependency of the retired on the working population.

As I’ve come to appreciate the culture of Maine the past two years I’ve lived here, I’m glad to see it will live on through people like Seefried.

Daniel Lee


Majoring in poverty

I really enjoyed Linda Barr’s and Chris Thomas’s article about college students not having enough money to pay for food. They thoroughly outlined the issues of struggling college students’ search to find food as well as providing innovative ideas to solve this problem.

Being an upcoming college student myself, this article is very concerning. Recent studies have shown that 36 percent of college students do not have regular access to food or a safe place to sleep. This is alarming not only because it concerns myself, but also for all the other upcoming college students in the country.

There are solutions that could be implemented to solve this current issue. The National School Lunch Program serves children all over the country. Although this program cuts off at the age of 18, it could be extended to struggling college students. This is a simple fix to a large scale problem.

Without implementing this plan you’re not only hurting kids, but their education as well.

Jenna Voteur