Families are destroyed by opiate addiction every day. It not only impacts the addict
but also their families and society as a whole. I don’t think there’s anyone who can’t tell you
of a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a friend of a neighbor who hasn’t dealt with this
challenge. It is a crisis impacting our community on multiple levels.
So what can we do to prevent this? I believe policy makers, healthcare providers,
educators, legislators, those in the criminal justice system, and recovery systems, and all of us
need to pull together toward real solutions because battling this crisis will take all of us
working together. This is a public health issue so we need to find ways to clear the waiting
lists and get treatment for these folks; that’s our best hope. Education programs help to
inform people of the risks associated with drugs. The more educated people are of the
negatives causes and effects of opiate addiction, the less likely they would be to pursue that
dangerous path. But education programs only go so far, a longer-term solution to opiate
addiction prevention will only occur when the government increases its involvement. The first
step would be better surveillance and tracking of the source of drug suppliers, finding out
who are the parties responsible for putting these drugs on our streets.
Until then, it’s up to responsible parents and community leaders to keep the epidemic
in check. That, certainly, is not easy. We need everyone to be vigilant about what is
happening in each other’s lives and what is causing people to turn to drugs. The time to help
those who are suffering and protect the rest is now. Our community cannot continue to
suffer at the hands of opiate addiction.