“It is the deadliest drug overdose crisis in US history. In 2016 alone, drug overdoses killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War and car crashes, gun violence, and HIV/AIDS ever did in a single year. In total, more than 170 people are estimated to die from overdoses every day in the US, and most of the deaths are linked to opioids. Yet so far, there’s been a lack of policy action to end the opioid epidemic...If the opioid epidemic continues unabated, one high-end forecast by STAT estimates that 650,000 more people will die from opioid overdoses in the next 10 years…."
How do we keep this from happening? This well-researched article by Vox Media presents four broad categories of policy-based weapons to fight the multi-tentacled monster that has attacked my community and our country.
Here they are in a nutshell:
1) Prevent new generations of opioid users (by addressing the proliferation of prescription painkillers)
2) Make addiction treatment easier to access than opioid painkillers and heroin - (by increasing access to evidence-based alternatives to opioids such as medication-assisted treatment).
3) If we can’t stop people from doing drugs, we can make it less dangerous (through various harm-reduction strategies).
4) Address the other problems that lead to addiction (at the very least, to stop future epidemics).
“We know what to do, but we need to dedicate the resources to do it.”
In the coming months I'll be dedicating a lot of personal energy to my campaign to get into the WV Legislature to help in this epic fight to save lives. But the fight can't wait!
Throughout my lifetime, the Democratic party has stood for fairness.
As a child I was inspired by President Kennedy & Martin Luther King on TV, and hard-working women like my aunt. As a young working single mother in the early 1960s, my aunt lived the struggle for a woman’s place in the world. She introduced me early on to the idea of taking a stand on behalf of those without power or advantages. She embodied the cause and cost of feminism, a description I proudly apply to myself.
Over the last century, through civil rights legislation, consumer protection and labor laws, Democrats have shown themselves to be the party to best represent women, the poor, minorities and disadvantaged, while Republican policies have been shown to benefit the wealthy, powerful and well-connected.
After the permitless concealed carry law went into effect in June 2016, firearm fatalities have risen by nearly 15 percent in the state of West Virginia, according to the Health Statistics Center at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. The data shows that firearm-related homicides increased by a staggering 39 deaths from May 2016 to May 2017, climbing to a total of 91 homicides. Read the full story...
As a "pre-candidate" for the House of Delegates, I am committed to using the coming months not just to practice the "art of political campaigning," but to learn as much as I can about the circumstances and needs of families in our community.
I was privileged today to be in the audience at a League of Women Voters-sponsored screening of the Netflix documentary "Heroin(e)" - click here to watch the trailer. The film's screening was followed by a panel presentation with the three remarkable local women featured in the film, Cabell County Judge Patricia Keller, Barboursville's Necia Freeman of Brown Bag Ministry, and Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader,
These women, who represent our community so well, were quick to credit the many people who are working hard to make a difference in a city with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. In addition to remarking on the documentary itself, they shared some observations about the lives ravaged by (and occasionally rescued from) the opioid epidemic:
The relentless compassion shown by Judge Keller, Ms. Freeman and Captain Rader was inspiring. If enough of us commit to taking steps to be part of the solution, perhaps their example can fuel an epidemic of hope and recovery.
Take about 30 minutes to watch last night's 60 Minutes segment, "Opioid Crisis Fueled by Drug Industry and Congress." This is absolutely sickening, and this is why we must vote out federal and state lawmakers who are complicit in greedy, deadly deeds!
Raising our voices
Issues, insights and day-to-day adventures along the campaign trail