Last night, I participated in an hour long “Opioid Roundtable” discussion with senatorial candidate, Mick Rich, and Mayor Javier Sanchez. This is a multi-generational problem where entire families, grandparents, parents, and their children, are in prison. I heard devastating stories of people going through rehabilitation programs, but then returning to their life of drugs shortly thereafter. Several points:
- Local law enforcement does not have adequate resources and staff to tackle the problem of drug dealers. Offenders who are here illegally may get deported, but come back under a different name.
- Defense lawyers profit from these cases and judges turn a blind eye. A dealer convicted for possessing 6 pounds of heroin only got 4 years of probation, no jail time.
- Doctors could be over-prescribing opioids. State legislation requires them to track their prescriptions in a database.
- Mayor Sanchez said that this is a problem that requires an all-inclusive approach. We could target those at highest risk; statistics show us which kids are most vulnerable, even in 4th grade.
- The Pastor of The Rock Christian Fellowship explained the programs that his church offers for drug addicts. He has adopted 9 children, and has applied for grants to assist with his outreach. Our churches can play a powerful role in this epidemic. There is a culture and identity of drugs that is difficult to escape.
- Los Alamos Councillor candidate Dawn Voss said that Los Alamos was turning a blind eye to the problem of drug addiction. Our kids are being impacted, and it’s time to do something about it.