With a heavy heart, I have been following Gov. LePage’s response to the opioid crisis currently afflicting Maine. I was hopeful that the rumors of his potential resignation were true; they had given hope to many of us who believe that LePage is unfit for office. However, it now seems that he has denied these reports.

I will continue to ask that Gov. LePage step down, immediately. Not only because he is embarrassing to our state, but also because he is totally ill-equipped to handle the opioid dependence crisis that is currently ravaging Maine, in that he chooses to address this crisis through rage, hate and racist sentiment as opposed to understanding, compassion and empathy.

I am a licensed counselor who sits with people who have turned to opioids for relief from pain. For over 40 years, I have had the honor of sitting with and learning from people who have turned to substance misuse.

While success in recovery is, of course, impossible to create or predict, I have found that kindness, presence and respect for people are more likely to foster successful outcomes in recovery than attempting to heal with rage, disapproval or other negative emotions, which almost ensures failure.

Gov. LePage is an example of someone who has chosen to approach this crisis with anger rather than compassion and with violence rather than peace or understanding. This approach will not decrease Maine’s rate of opioid overdose deaths (189 this year, as of last month).

Gov. LePage has proven, repeatedly, that he will respond with anger, not understanding. The state of Maine simply cannot have such a person as their leader when such a deadly crisis is afflicting our population.

Stephen Andrew

Portland