Letter: Opiate forum was only the beginning
I want to thank all the community members who attended the Manchester Library event on Jan 25, where we began our discussion on what we can do about the opioid epidemic. Thank you also to PBS for the film, the library for hosting, GNAT-TV and the Manchester Journal for their excellent coverage. It was clear that those citizens who packed the house are passionate and concerned about the opioid problem in our community.
This is a monumental challenge in so many arenas. Breaking the stigma and getting the discussion started is our first step. This was just the first of a series of educational events where we will address many topics as we work together to make changes. We cannot sit back and wait for the government to fix this problem. Throughout our nation there are grassroots coalitions stepping up and thinking outside the box and creating new solutions. I believe that our community has the passion, the talent, and the motivation to work together to help our friends, neighbors, and families who are struggling all around us. We must open our hearts with loving compassion so they know that they are not alone. We must share our hope.
What can we do right now? We can bring our skills to the table ... professionals, educators, counselors, insurance specialists, medical professionals, child caregivers, churches, business owners with empty buildings. We can gather our resources and talents to develop educational programs for our kids, provide healthy activities for our teens, and supportive rehabilitation programs for those in recovery so they can become productive citizens.
Regarding medications: If you are taking any kind of medication, make sure that it is stored safely and/or locked up. If you have leftover medication dispose of it at a safe drop-off location. If you are prescribed medication, be sure to be educated on the side effects, dangers, and alternative choices.
Our town could become a model for a Community Campus where we compassionately support everyone that has recovery needs, by providing child care, job skill training, financial advice, emotional support, healthy recreation, and service activities that give back to the community. I challenge every one of you to ask yourselves "What can I contribute to work towards this goal?"
Yes, we still need more recovery centers and long-term, comprehensive, structured services. Those are important goals and will require funding and more time to acquire, but they are a priority on our list.
Please watch for upcoming events where we will continue to work towards solutions and fight for change. Feel free to contact me, join our team, and share your ideas. Let's move this mountain, one stone at a time! Together ordinary people can do extraordinary things!
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