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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Substance Abuse Prevention

By Christine Furey


September 04, 2017
Monday PM

Good morning Ketchikan. I would like to start by saying that I suppose that I am just as much to blame as anyone else that is involved with any one of the task forces, Coalitions or agencies in our community but I am incredibly concerned about a few things.

August 31st was International Overdose Awareness Day and I know I mentioned this during a Taskforce meeting just before I went to Atlanta to take part in an amazing international substance abuse prevention conference. It was never discussed again. I hope that people other than myself find it discouraging that we did nothing in our community to promote or discuss this. This could have been a prime opportunity to hold an event and get names out there and engage with our community. Those who struggle directly and indirectly with addiction. I know that time goes on and we all live busy lives but I hope that it's not been forgotten that just off the top of my head I can think of 8 people from our community that died directly from a drug overdose. Some of them didn't die in our town but they were raised here. 6 of those individuals that I am speaking of did die here in our town and yet we opted to do nothing to remember them as the beautiful souls they were, addicted or not. We let a pe
rfect opportunity for learning, engaging and promoting slide right through our finger tips. That is not something I am okay with, not for myself and not for our community.

It is now September 2 which means that we are 34 hours into National Recovery Month and I've yet to hear one word of it mentioned in our community. It wasn't mentioned in a recent task force meeting I attended and I've not seen any other mention of it anywhere. Again this is a perfect opportunity that we are letting slip away from us and for what? Because we are all so busy that we just don't care. We don't care until another person dies or until there is another huge drug bust. We don't care until another middle/high school students family is devistated because they realize that their child is a drug addict.

Maybe the fact that I am a person in long-term recovery makes this matter to me more than most but it shouldn't be the case. We can't as individuals sit on these task forces and not use our involvement to make a difference. We can't as members of this community shake our heads in disbelief because of the cause and affect that addiction is having on our home. We can't as parents sit back and actually believe that our children would never, because I promise you that addiction knows no boundaries and it can affect ANYONE!

We are a town that is absolutely affected by addiction on so many levels. I guess I'm frustrated and I'm not pointing fingers at any one person I am pointing fingers at everyone. Every single person in our town is at fault for not being willing to face these problems head on. In order to be effective in prevention of substance abuse we have to first be willing to admit that it exists and that doesn't mean reading Sitnews to see what drug addicted member of our community did what last week. It means getting involved, be a part of the solution because pretending that there isn't an issue is being part of the problem.

I hope that as a community we can come together and promote healthy lifestyles and be the voice for the voiceless. That we can lead by example, that we can dismantle the stigma and effectively foster growth and change.

Thanks for your time!

Christine Furey
Ketchikan, Alaska


Was the text of this letter edited by the SitNews Editor: No


Received September 02, 2017 - Published September 04, 2017

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