(1-27-17) Two items today. The first was prompted by a recent letter to the editor that caught my eye. The second is a follow up to the Internet petition being circulated by activists who claim the National Alliance On Mental Illness, the country’s largest grass roots mental health organization, isn’t paying enough attention to the sickest of the sick.
First the letter:
Dear Editor: My son battles with opioid addiction. This situation has taken its toll on me and my family. My point of view on the issue has changed; as a father, citizen, and (state) legislator. I have seen first-hand how our criminal justice, mental health, and crisis intervention systems may not be meeting the challenge of this crisis.
Through my experience I have learned that families often don’t understand the disease of addiction. I’ve learned that it is often difficult and expensive to access to care or to find a doctor who can prescribe medicine…that may be helpful in treating addiction. I have also learned that first responders have seen a tremendous increase in Opioid related incidents and are frequently put in difficult situations.
My family’s story is not unique; it can happen to anyone and with my son’s permission I’m sharing our story in an effort to help others. Addiction is a family disease and I know it’s both difficult and personal for everyone. Action on this crisis is on my agenda in the (Virginia) General Assembly, including increasing access to overdose reversal drugs, being an ally in the fight to reform our mental health system, and finding new ways for those in an addiction crisis to get to the resources they need.
State Delegate John Bell