Lane Glenn Issues Public Reprimand to President Trump and Others

Northern Essex President, Lane Glenn, has issued a scathing response to President Trump, Gov. Paul LePage and Gov. Chris Sununu for their recent comments blaming Lawrence for the country’s drug epidemic.

“In responding to the opioid addiction crisis that is ravaging the states of Maine and New Hampshire, and the entire nation, each of you has pointed to the city of Lawrence, Mass. and criticized it as the source of the problem,” Lane wrote in his blog.

Glenn called out the president and two governors for wasting time on blame, saying, “Gov. LePage, Gov. Sununu, and President Trump, spending a great deal of time on blame instead of action is not going to get us out of this mess; but if you must blame someone, then blame drug dealers and violent gang members. Blame the CEO’s of pharmaceutical companies who aggressively, and sometimes falsely, market addictive drugs. Blame the executives of profit-minded insurance companies, who put drugs like morphine in low-cost brackets, cheaper than more expensive but less addictive opioids like buprenorphine. Blame any doctors who overprescribe prescription painkillers. Blame yourselves, and any elected officials or caretakers of public resources and policy who aren’t doing enough to prevent and treat this national health crisis. Blame any individual people who may be contributing to this crisis through their actions or inactions, but do not blame an entire city like Lawrence, where the majority of the residents are honest, hardworking people, seeking to make their way in one of hundreds of post-industrial, revitalizing cities in America, and certainly, do not blame an entire culture or race of people because of their country of origin or the color of their skin.”

Glenn told WHAV he was moved to write the letter after the president’s speech in New Hampshire earlier this week in which he became the latest politician to blame Lawrence for the nation's opioid crisis, saying, “the sanctuary city of Lawrence, Mass., is one of the primary sources of fentanyl in six New Hampshire counties.”

“Without a doubt, drug trafficking is a problem in and around Lawrence and a number of other major cities in Massachusetts,” Glenn said, “but I felt the real problem was in maligning an entire city or, in the case of Governor LePage’s comments, an entire ethnicity of people, rather than the perpetrators of the problem. I don’t think it’s fair to say the city of Lawrence is the problem. The vast majority of people who live there are law abiding, hard working and, in the case of 3,000 NECC students, people bent on improving their lives and educating themselves. So, I thought it was important to speak up.”

Glenn said that Maine’s Gov. LePage “baldly declared ‘the heroin-fentanyl arrests are not white people. They’re Hispanic and they’re black and they’re from Lowell and Lawrence, Mass.’”

Glenn also took exception to New Hampshire’s Gov. Sununu's previous claim that, “85 percent of the fentanyl in this state is coming straight out of Lawrence,” without offering any evidence to support that claim. The blog further points out that, "across the border in New Hampshire, doctors still prescribe opioids at nearly twice the national rate, and the state spends less on addiction treatment than almost every other state in the country.”

“Facts still matter,” wrote Glenn, “and falsely vilifying an entire city, an entire culture, or an entire race of people is not going to solve this public health crisis.”

Glenn’s blog urges the trio to visit Lawrence, where he said he would take them on a tour of NECC’s Lawrence campus, visit the greatly improved K-12 public schools, have lunch at El Encanto, visit city hall and see, first-hand, the positive side of the city he is so passionately defending.

“The invitation is real. I’m happy to host and show around Lawrence Governor Sununu, Governor LePage and President Trump, if any of them want to actually put their feet on the ground and get to know that city, it’s a marvelous community. I will be happy to show them around. That’s a real invitation.”

 

To read the full letter, visit Lane Glenn’s blog, “Running the Campus” at http://president.necc.mass.edu.