Through mid-October, 56 people have died in Cecil County this year from drug overdoses.
These were our neighbors, our friends or maybe a family member.
While our first responders and government officials have been working on the drug addiction problem for years and even though more resources are being devoted to this issue, we cannot stem the alarming increase in substance abuse and overdose deaths until we all get involved.
It used to be that many of us thought that substance abuse issues were somebody else’s problems. But the grim reality is that every single one of us knows someone whose life has been profoundly and adversely affected by addictive behavior. This includes people who have had their car stolen or suffered a break-in at their home. Yes, even our crime rate has gone up significantly because of people willing to do anything to feed their addiction.
As with many of society’s issues, there are no easy answers. But as with most issues, we all need to get involved to work toward solutions.
Make no mistake about this – we are at war. The war against addiction may never be totally won, but we can work to stop the increases in the numbers of people who are addicted. Nothing should be off the table to stop this problem.
The drugs of choice these days are the usual suspects. But in recent years opiates are a major problem. Forget the concept of gateway drugs and a gradual increase in consumption of various drugs. These days, our children are sampling drugs from our own medicine cabinets. Our nation is producing, prescribing and consuming opiate pain medications at ridiculous levels. When that supply slows, people turn to heroin. In the endless pursuit of a more potent high, drug dealers are offering products laced with fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a deadly drug.The County Council was told by the Sheriff’s Office this week that people go onto the dark web to order fentanyl that has been chemically altered to make it more potent. This product has been traced to China. This fentanyl is so strong that the likelihood of overdose and death has dramatically increased for users. Officials report having to administer multiple doses of the overdose-reversing drug Narcan/Naloxone in an attempt to save the victim. Fentanyl also poses a major threat to first responders. Our local police and medical personnel are adding more protective gear to keep from touching or inhaling these lethal drugs.
We all must mobilize in the war on drugs. We need to focus on educating people to keep them off drugs in the first place. Sheriff Scott Adams said that if the demand is decreased, suppliers will disappear. We need to get addicts the serious assistance they need, including longer stretches of intensive treatment and continuing counseling.
For starters, we all need to educate ourselves on this issue and demand that our national and state politicians pass laws to stop the flow of opiates into our communities.