We all have a role to play in drug fight

What are you willing to do?

That was the final question posed to those attending the last of three forums recently called to discuss the opioid epidemic and its impact on our community. Roughly 75 people attended the Marietta session representing addicts, their families, health care professionals, politicians, clergy and law enforcement. We were impressed with the turnout and thought those in attendance represented a good cross section of the community. But obviously, we will need to get others involved if we are to see real solutions come from this dialogue.

And so we ask our readers: What are you willing to do?

Are you willing to acknowledge that addiction is rooted in the body’s chemistry and biology? Are you willing to admit addiction knows no boundaries and addicts come from all walks of life? Are you willing to open your eyes to the ways addiction is breaking up families? Do you agree more resources need to be available to more people?

Not everyone wants to admit this epidemic needs a community response. Just this week, Washington County Commissioner David White publicly chastised the Washington County Behavioral Health Board for a request of additional monies to pay, in part, the salary of a deputy director for the agency. A position left vacant for years, it is being filled now to help provide administrative support for increased programs and services the board will provide resulting from the passage of a mental health levy last year. The levy money will be used for services and can not be used for salaries. The county was asked to help pay for a staff member to help bring those programs and services to people. It’s a legitimate request and one we are glad the other two commissioners, Ron Feathers and Rick Walters supported.

White was wrong to suggest voters repeal the levy. If he had attended the Marietta forum, he would have heard first-hand accounts from former addicts, family members, judges, school personnel and more about the need for services and support.

Clearly, not everyone agrees the drug epidemic rises to the top of community issues. They should. And that’s why this newspaper will continue to share the stories, spark the dialogue and bring others to the table to identify remedies and solutions. None of us can do it alone.

What are you willing to do?