Commentary: State’s, nation’s drug problem is a ‘horrible scourge’

As everyone is aware, we not only have a serious drug problem in Delaware, but pervasive throughout United States. In November of 2017, I lost a loved one because of this horrible scourge, a cancer on America.

From my own up close, chilling and shaken to the core personal experiences resulting in the most unfortunate, sad and tragic circumstances, I have an approach that I would like to share. I am one who is continually striving to make a difference and put an end to this horrible stain on our society.

I have a profound and compelling story to tell, and I am now on a mission. I am ready, willing, and able to talk with our state’s governor, lieutenant governor and newly elected attorney general to address this issue. I am also willing to appear before Delaware’s full House and Senate determined to see to it that something constructive, comprehensive and effective is done.

I know about the current efforts our state government is involved with in trying to combat this enormous problem Delaware and the entire nation is faced with. The number of individuals in Delaware alone afflicted with serious addiction is currently well over 11,000 people, with the state of Delaware having only 137 beds available for treatment. The current state of affairs is pathetic at best. Supervised, long-term treatment facilities are needed now. Ten and 30 days of treatment does not work.

Comprehensive and intense 90 days or longer detoxification and treatment is in fact what is needed. Strategically positioning billboards and ensuring a wide dissemination of Narcan to include providing clean needles or needle exchanges may be perceived as helpful or effective but it is only a very minuscule part of the equation in stemming the tide. To any of our elected officials who don’t think this issue requires immediate attention, you are sadly mistaken, and I for one can enlighten you in getting educated and up to speed.

Delaware’s “D.C. Delegation” (Carper, Coons, Rochester) also need to step it up, get on board, do more and ensure federal funding is provided.

Take notice Delaware and watch two prominent nationally well-known highly regarded lawyers, Mike Moore from Mississippi and Burton LeBlanc from Louisiana, who already have been instrumental in ensuring the tobacco and oil industries paid a substantial price for previous wrong doings. What’s most important now, is to watch how current litigation they are both involved with concludes, resulting in several sectors of the corrupt pharmaceutical industry having to pay billions in fines. Corporate greed being returned to its rightful place. Funds that will enable both the federal and state governments to use in combating the drug problem that bad players of the pharmaceutical industry knowingly and directly contributed to.

In 2017, alone well over 72,000 lives were lost due to drug addiction. Sixty-six percent of those deaths were directly attributed to opioids. The number of lives lost in one year alone, exceeds the number of casualties sustained during the entire Vietnam War. Security analysts have made it clear in particular to the current administration in Washington, that the number one national security threat to our country currently is the Mexican drug cartel.

To not act is to allow the continued disintegration and elimination of an entire Generation. I applaud the efforts of Don Keister and Dave Humes from attack Addiction, who I have met and talked with at length. They and all their associates have made a positive impact on this problem. Certainly, the initiatives undertaken by the lieutenant governor to ensure Narcan is available in many communities is also recognized and well noted.

The comprehensive efforts that have been put forth in trying to establish treatment centers, alternative and preventative education concepts for addicts is also important, but this is only a small part of the equation in developing a successful solution. What is needed, right here and now, is for the governor to take a strong stance and call for a special session to have the House and Senate convene, with the crystal clear stipulation, that upon completion, immediate appropriations are made to fund law enforcement, both state and local, throughout all three counties, resulting in the composition of a 24-7 dedicated task force that is relentless in eradicating the illegal drug trade at every level, to include coming down hard on the pharmaceutical industry and corrupt doctors in our medical profession.

The ultimate objective is to identify, investigate and apprehend individuals involved in all aspects of trafficking and distribution. Harsh, stiff penalties should encompass long-term incarceration for such unconscionable behavior, making money, and the ultimate greed of doing so off the backs of people suffering and personal destruction.

The basic fundamental premise is to identify, contain and eradicate the problem. When you eliminate the supply, it dries up.

Addicts can’t get the drugs needed and effective methods of treatment are then implemented, followed by lifelong recovery efforts that could lead to a better life for those afflicted with this disease.

The former Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn, in a commentary published in the Delaware State News (Dec. 16) referred to the drug problem” as the “public health crisis of our generation”. To magnify his point, the problem is enormous and does require immediate attention.

In closing, I hope my stated intentions come to fruition. I am asking for your help, understanding and cooperation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: J.M. Isabella is a resident of Magnolia.

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