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Home / Community / TOWN HALL MEETING ON THE OPIATE CRISIS

TOWN HALL MEETING ON THE OPIATE CRISIS

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The second in our series on the opiate crisis is prompted by
the recent Town Hall meeting on the subject sponsored by
the Texas City Police Department and BACODA.
The Opiate Crisis has brought attention to the larger
issue of Substance Abuse. 1 in 7 Americans will become
substance dependent 18% of all have abused prescription
drug in the last year. So how do we change our attitudes
toward this neuro-biologically based disease? It will require
changing how we think talk and act around and to the victims
– understanding the depth of the economic imperative
that comes with not understanding this massive medical
crisis; and through education understanding and truly
believing that “prevention works, treatment is effective and
recovery is possible for everyone”.
Randy Grimes is an ex-NFL player who has overcome his
substance abuse of over 25 years, begun due to the all too
common attempt to manage, and continue to play through,
the painful injuries that are part and parcel of professional
football. But when the football career ended, the addiction
did not. Now sober for 8 years, Randy found a life after
addiction. “God did not open the Gates of Heaven…He
opened the Gates of Hell and let me out.” Randy is now a
Board Certified Interventionist at InterventionNow.org
Corporal Allen Bjerke with the Texas City Police
Department has devoted 16 of his 22+ years as a police
officer, to narcotic investigation and prosecution. He is
a Master Peace Officer, a member of TCPD SWAT. He
received training from the US Army, Regional Counterdrug
Training Academy, the Texas DPS, DEA, narcotics Control
and more and assisted us with our initial story on this very
serious problem and inspiring us to begin this series to
support him in his focus on fighting this battle through the
education of our community about the problem and the
assistance available to those who are suffering from this
disease or who have a loved one caught in the addiction
trap.
Jamie Edwards, owner and director of The Refuge
Center of Houston which provides recovery services for
families struggling with a substance use disorder and its
effects through coaching, pastoral counseling, spiritual care
and direction. Edwards address the critical importance of
addressing the stigma that comes with substance abuse
and the damage done through a lack of understanding and
proper support and guidance. She began by stating some
frightening statistics such as; we lose more lives monthly to
opiate overdoses than we lost during 911. 70,000 in2017
higher than gun deaths car accident and HIV deaths combined
with over 74 billion dollars spent on this epidemic and
yet we continue to see it as criminal behavior rather than
a disease that leads to criminal activity in order to sustain
the addiction. Treatment is believed to be much more cost
effective in that it is less costly than incarceration and significantly
more successful in rehabilitating through disease
management as opposed to punishment which does nothing
to address the disease.
Returning sufferers to becoming contributing citizens
rather than reoffenders or permanent residents of an institution;
reducing criminal activity, homelessness, and the need
for medical care for indigents; not to mention the pain, damage
and often the destruction of families, all are benefits of
recognizing the disease for what it is and designing and
supporting programs to correct it.
Next week: Criminal District Attorney Jack Roady an
Annette H Martinez with Serenity Light Recovery

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