Kudos to Old Orchard Beach resident and “Jeopardy!” champion Dennis Coffey for using his national platform for the greater good when he mentioned on air the awful personal toll that he has felt from Maine’s addiction crisis.

Burying your head in the sand (or it being winter, the snow) seems to be the kneejerk reaction from many Mainers when the topic of the addiction crisis comes up. That may owe to Maine’s oldest-in-the-nation per capita population. It’s not people in their 70s and 80s dying of addiction, so why should people in their 70s and 80s care? It shouldn’t need to be pointed out that in order to function a society needs to have healthy young people to perform the labor. Someone has to staff those nursing homes, patch those roofs, plow the roads, deliver the propane, cook those meals and so forth.

In the last 10 years, self-harm has killed thousands of Mainers in the prime of their lives. Not only that, this lost generation has left behind another generation of traumatized and damaged children now being cared for by grandparents or the state. The cycle goes on.

Dennis Coffey could have mentioned craft breweries or lobster but instead told the truth about Maine. Thank you again, Dennis. Let’s hope that the “Jeopardy!” audience was listening.

Jeremy Smith

Old Orchard Beach

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