Portland man shares story of recovery, message of support

Much has been made of Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s recent comments about drug addiction and recovery treatment.

Photo- Troy R. Bennett, BDN.

Photo- Troy R. Bennett, BDN.

In regards to the overdose-reversing drug known as naloxone, or Narcan, LePage has said that the drug doesn’t save lives, it merely extends them.

As has been reiterated by an endless stream of physicians, emergency medical responders, police officers, elected officials, and people in the recovery community- and as is understood by anyone with at least a basic understanding of addiction¬†and a heart that doesn’t pump black tar through their veins- the governor’s claims are absolutely, undoubtedly 100% false, ignorant, and cold-hearted.

Rather then bloviate for several hundred words, though, I’d like to share a truly touching story of a Portland man who battled addiction for decades, but has recovered and now dedicates himself to helping others walking the same difficult path that he once followed.

Meet Richard “Dicky” Earles:

Here’s what Earles had to say about LePage’s stance on dealing with the drug addiction crisis in Maine:¬†

“My history speaks for itself. I spent over 20 years in prison going in and out over the course of 30 years. So when Governor LePage starts talking about increasing prison sentences for drug traffickers what he’s really saying is longer sentences for sick and suffering addicts who are trapped into a repetitive cycle of offending and re-offending.

It’s a life sentence, on the installment plan.

This state is never ever going to be able to arrest its way out of the drug epidemic. Treatment is the only way to free the addicts from the chains that bind them and devastating impact it has on our society.”

The above video was produced by Patrick Hart, a classmate of Earles’ at the University of Southern Maine.

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.