It’s official. Like his predecessors, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, President Donald Trump has declared war on drugs.
In his call to arms last week, the President noted that there are an estimated two million Americans who are addicted to drugs and 175 deaths a day.
President Trump also held fast to his belief in the need for a wall to help keep drugs from Mexico from flowing into the United States. He also announced that we would cut off the supply of the killer drug Fentanyl from China.
He announced, too, that First lady, Melania Trump, will focus on dealing with the effects of drugs on children, an inspired choice.
It is likely that major pharmaceutical companies will get the once over, but they also deserve credit for making life endurable for those suffering from serious diseases and accidents. .
As for legal marijuana, there are some legitimate reasons for it, but also a significant addiction downside.
All of us are susceptible to drug addiction. There is no untouched demographic. And the availability of local recovery resources significantly improves the chance of recovery.
Last week, Wall Street Journal columnist, Bill McGurn, said he likes local, faith-based solutions to addiction problems. We do, too.
The ODAT Mission
The mission of One Day at a Time (ODAT) in Little Rock, and in each community we may serve, is to reduce substance abuse by providing information on addiction recovery and ultimately in providing individual treatment plans through a local organization we call the “Roundtable.”
Today, our emphasis is on providing information to help visitors to our Onedayatatime.com web site deal with their addictions or those of family members and others who may need help.
As we attract visitors seeking information, we will begin to work with local organizations in forming a community “roundtable” with members who will provide not only information but also the actual resources needed to help others recover.
We will continue to be proactive. And we expect law enforcement to remain aggressively involved. But we will do a better job making sobriety more attractive and by increasing our focus on individual communities. For now, that means Little Rock.
We all need to fight back more vigorously on the streets and in the homes of local citizens in their individual communities. Our job at ODAT is to make a compelling case for sobriety versus the ultimately fatal attractions of heroin, cocaine, Fentanyl and other narcotics.
History tells us that America is capable of defeating evil. Like Nazi Germany in World War II.
Our invasion of Europe on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944 involved total commitment and produced a stunning victory.
The battle began when more than 150,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France.
It was the largest amphibious military assault in history.
By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans.
Trump Plan Reaction
Bob Brandt, an Ohio man who lost his 20 year old son to a heroin overdose in 2011 called Trump’s plan for defeating the drug surge a good first step but also urged a greater focus on prevention and long term treatment.
The federal government has lagged behind in truly decisive action, Brandt said.
Brandt, himself, opened an opioid recovery center in Medina, Ohio this year run on private donations and grants.
Beyond a lack of funding, President Trump has yet to name the central players to carry out the mission.
The rate of deaths from drug overdoses in Arkansas has increased from 5.1 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 13.4 last year accord to a state Health Department presentation to lawmakers in July.
Arkansas officials are taking steps to curb opioid abuse including requiring physicians and other prescribers to powerful painkillers to check the states prescription monitoring database to learn whether a patient has filled similar prescriptions before.
Also in place is a program for disposing of household inventories of prescription drugs initiated by former Arkansas Drug Director, Fran Flener.
Flener serves as a member of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions America (CADCA) Board of Directors, and as the board member representing the substance abuse treatment community nationwide for the National Methamphetamine Pharmaceuticals Initiative.
Both Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola have taken measures to contain the growing epidemic, including adding more police and putting police on overtime, but they need help. This is where a Little Rock Roundtable comes in.
In our proposal, members of the “Little Rock Roundtable” will represent churches, hospitals, schools, businesses, prison systems, veterans groups, lawyers, legislators and others. Some will be in recovery themselves.
The principal treatment components of the Roundtable include:
- Mental health evaluation and treatment for depression, anxiety, PTSD and other conditions.
- Addiction treatment for those struggling with alcohol, opioids, heroin and other drugs through 12 Step programs as well as psychiatric care provided on both an outpatient and inpatient basis.
- Faith based programs offered primarily by Christian evangelical churches and other organizations such as the Salvation Army and Union Rescue Mission, both founded more than a century ago.
- Physical fitness regimens provided by local gymnasiums and through the development of programs for home use.
- Employment programs developed by local businesses for the jobless.
Resources and planning
Little Rock’s assets include excellent hospitals (dealing with both mental health and drug addiction problems), community-focused and entrepreneurial churches, traditional 12 step programs and a history of proactively dealing with addictions dating back to 1940, five years after the founding of AA in Akron, Ohio.
We will focus on:
- Reducing the demand for alcohol and other drugs by promoting recovery while maintaining adequate law enforcement protection to limit the supply.
- Forming collaborations with organizations with complementary objectives such as City Connections,
- Promoting healthy lifestyles in spirit, mind and body.
- Soliciting the continued support of state and local government for our mission.