New Year, New View

Drug addiction is powerful, but it is no match against the care, compassion and commitment of the good people of Dare County.

Sometimes all it takes is seeing things from a new viewpoint, and that’s where the breakthrough occurs. The breakthrough most often happens when you’re at your breaking point.  It’s true with people suffering from addiction. Rock bottom is the place of dramatic opportunity for change in one’s life.

Ever since most of us can remember, our community, like many others across the nation, has combatted a drug problem. From alcohol to oxy to heroin – these drugs and their grasp on our friends and neighbors, has infiltrated some of our cherished communities and taken the lives of our loved ones. It’s not uncommon to have a discussion about drugs in our community and see shoulders shrug in defeat.

Although the analogy of rock bottom does not describe our community, what is always true about Dare County is that we take full advantage of every opportunity to make a positive change. In order to help combat substance abuse in our community, several groups of caring and compassionate people have organized to prevent substance abuse and save lives. These organizations include Healthy Carolinians of the Outer Banks, Dare CASA, Walk Against Addiction, Port/ New Horizons, Trillium, The Physicians’ Council on Prescription Drug Abuse, Project Purple, CRAB and, most recently, the Dare County Substance Abuse Prevention and Education Task Force, sponsored by the Dare County Commissioners.

The good news and the new view are that things are starting to change. Now more than ever, there is a tidal wave of momentum toward saving lives and preventing substance abuse and addiction right here in our community.

On the prevention front, Dare County schools are seeing a decline in the percent of students who test positive for substances as part of the random drug-testing program. Even our youth are getting the message that drugs are not the answer to social anxiety, depression or rebellion. School-based programs that promote assets and sparks and support for emotional distress are helping students focus on a new substance within themselves called purpose.

Dare County was also one of the first communities in our state where the county commissioners, law enforcement community, health department and others collaborated to take advantage of lifesaving programs and prevention strategies. To date 10 lives have been saved with the help of these programs and individuals who receive outreach through one of these programs are 4-5 times more likely to seek recovery services for their addiction – an opportunity that would be missed without these services. At the national level, our pleas to prevent addiction are being heard.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has mandated that drug companies manufacture 25% less oxycodone beginning this year. This mandate will make a significant impact, as it is wellknown that the number one predictor of substance use is access.

Now is the time to join in this very hopeful endeavor and continue the momentum. Town hall meetings are being planned for 2017. Stay tuned for the date and time of the Town hall meeting nearest you or visit darenc. com/savinglives. Plan to participate and voice your concerns; also learn from others about resources and help right here in our community. To read the entire Newsletter, click "View PDF" below.

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