Preventable tragedies

Laura Supica’s BDN OpEd of April 16, “Mental Health Crises need 24/7 response” is excellent. I support this important bill but it needs a broader context. Otherwise, greater failure with far greater negative consequences will continue.

The state continues to fail those with brain disorders and addictions in crisis, placing its services also in crisis. The lack of funding, failure to follow through on the Augusta Mental Health Institute Consent Decree at the community level, wrongly conceived policies and freezing reimbursement for multiple years is a disaster! Why? One major underlying factor is the mislabeling of brain disorders and addictions and calling them inaccurately “mental health” and “behavioral health,” which clearly devalues them. Brain disorders and addictions are as “physical” as any other illness.

What must be done? Supica outlines so well the human and economic costs to the state, county and city. Now, let’s add to the costs paid by every city, town, county and the state. What then is that total to the Maine taxpayer? How many millions is the state throwing away? The state must adequately fund these services now to prevent these disasters in the first place.

The Legislature should pass bills such as LD 582, “An Act To Support the Fidelity and Sustainability of Assertive Community Treatment,” LD 785, the standards for assessing risk of serious harm bill to help prevent further disasters, and LD 1090, a bill to fund the Progressive Treatment Program legal fees for hospitals and assertive community treatment (ACT) teams. Stop perpetuating preventable tragedies.

Joe Pickering Jr.


Maine has been behind on OVR

“Dirigo” means “I lead.” Maine has certainly done that in many fields, but with online voter registration, not so much. Forty-one states are ahead of us! Some of them began doing it in 2002.

Here’s how it would work here: The Secretary of State already has on file many voter’s driver’s license or state ID. Both documents include an address, a birth date, a physical description and a signature — the same information that a prospective voter would give to a city or town registrar if they appeared in person in the registrar’s office.

You go online to the Secretary of State’s office, fill out a form, check the “I’m not a robot” box for security purposes, and you’re done. Easy! And of course for those who wish to register in person, that option is still available.

A couple of points deserve emphasis: First, online registration reduces the risk of clerical errors. Second, online registration is a major cost saver. Arizona found its per registrant cost tumbled 96 percent!

If people would like to support online registration, they should contact their legislator and ask them to support LD 1126.

Kim Matthews


Rethink this one

In the response to the April 19 OpEd in the BDN, “Pharmaceutical innovation is winning the war on COVID. Biden shouldn’t stop it”: The BDN might want to rethink publishing such a Fox-like piece. It combines the subject of the COVID-19 vaccine and pharmaceutical overpricing in political bombastic language, which combines misinformation with an assault on President Joe Biden to the point of ridiculousness.

The problem is that I don’t think many of our public know that this is an OpEd from a conservative foundation, which I believe is trying to confuse this same public into believing pharmaceutical companies should overcharge Americans as a matter of course.

Is this an accurate way for BDN to show both sides of the pharmaceutical situation? I think not.

Marianne Sacknoff

Stockton Springs