SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Be the Change

By Christine Furey


February 23, 2016
Tuesday AM

In the last few weeks a dark cloud has been painted over our beautiful little town. It happens every year, sometimes more. Drugs, drugs and more drugs! Is it not yet completely obvious that we are dealing with what some may call an epidemic and yet we seem to be doing very little to combat it on a large scale level. I am not in any way trying to discredit those agencies that are working very hard to do what they can and this includes the Ketchikan Police Department, among many others and their efforts don't go unnoticed.

However, I believe that jail is not a long term solution to the problem at hand. Do I honestly believe that I will be the reason for change? No, but I can't sit back and do nothing anymore. So in an attempt to raise awareness and seek advice I write this letter. Drugs and alcohol are not only dangerous they are deadly, this is something that our small town knows all too well. So the question becomes what can we do about it? I am not exactly sure but I am determined to find out. I want to be an advocate for change.

Prevention of alcohol and drug use would be ideal and for this to occur it has to start young and be consistent. It needs to come from many different sources throughout the life of our children. In our school systems, from parents, peers and our community as a whole. Statistically it is proven that those who start drinking before the age of 14 are more likely to be affected by dependence later in life. Now we can choose to continue to turn a blind eye to the fact that many adolescents in our town are part of that statistic or we can choose to recognize it and rally together for change.

In my opinion there needs to be detailed and age appropriate drug, alcohol and, suicide prevention programs in our schools starting from about 3rd grade and going all the way through high school. Our community needs to stand together as one, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, religion or any other potential barrier. Those people that are in recovery need to share their stories, let the message of hope be heard. Change is possible! We need to educate not just our children but everyone, knowledge is power!

While prevention would be ideal, it would literally be impossible to prevent everyone from becoming addicted. We have hundreds of people, young and old that are already addicted to various substances. So it would be safe to say that the ability to get and stay sober has to outweigh the ability to continue using or at least come close. Today that is not the case, we need to have detox programs that are here locally, larger treatment programs that don t require a long wait list. For many addicts the choice to get clean comes out of nowhere and it needs to happen right then, not a month later. The option for rehabilitation vs. jail time has to become realistic.

Residents of our community need to set their judgement aside in order to effectively facilitate change. The preservation of our wonderfully beautiful community lies in our ability to unite and work towards common solutions. Something I have learned on my journey from addiction to recovery is to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem, well this is where I start and I refuse to give up!


Christine Furey
Ketchikan, Alaska

About: "Life long local resident - Recovering Addict - Addictions Studies Student"

Received February 17, 2016 - Published February 23, 2016



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