Prescription drug abuse and associated deaths have skyrocketed in my local area over the past few years and fortunately many of our public and private professionals have stepped up to the plate by raising awareness and offering solutions. There are few notable exceptions though, so I figured this recent and informative article on the issue by the Shelby County Reporter would be a great time to rate some of the responses I have seen from my local community.
Shelby County Drug Court: Offering well monitored treatment and a chance for recovery as an alternative to incarceration and recidivism, I have witnessed the positive results of the drug court in person. Many of the people addicted to prescription drug pills become so in a prescribed legit fashion only turning to illicit behavior as the addiction progresses- we need to have more than “just jail”. This is a great program that not only gives a second chance, but provides the tools to take advantage of the opportunity.
State Senator Hank Irwin: A man of faith, it is unfortunate that he has to rely upon only this and his many prejudices instead of the facts when it comes to medically assisted recovery (MAR), a critical tool for those suffering with prescription medication (mostly pain killers) addiction. He has been a constant opponent of MAR and clearly has a problem separating opinion from facts.
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Sheriff Chris Curry: While we do not agree on all the issues, the sheriff has proven he is a dedicated public servant that will go out of his way to solve problems instead of just meting out punishment. He has been very proactive on addressing the prescription substance abuse problem in our community and has my support.
Shelby County General Population: I hate to say it, but for the most part the people of Shelby County are clueless even though deaths from prescription drug abuse have quadrupled in the last few years. It has been my experience that very few people, even parents, have enough concern to get informed and involved even when the professional community reaches out to them.
Shelby County Treatment Center: Often demonized with unfounded rumors by the very community it serves, the SCTC continues to provide a caring environment for those seeking medically assisted recovery. (They also provide the facilities for the TDA weekly recovery program)
Shelby County Coroner Diana Hawkins: I have used the data supplied by her office in my own presentations for the local school and in community outreach. My hat is off to Ms Hawkins for being so proactive and outspoken on the issue. She has to deal with the grim results first hand, and where most would just file away the statistics she goes out of her way to do something about it.
District Attorney Randall V Houston (Chilton): Yes he’s south of Shelby County, but close enough to me point out his illogical arguments against medically assisted recovery (MAR). In most cases Mr. Houston seems to have his ducks in a row, he has the background to know better on this issue, but when it comes to MAR he is definitely more politician than public servant.