The opioid epidemic is one of our country’s most dire ongoing issues. The term is one that has become too familiar in our everyday lives. Unfortunately, this epidemic is tragically taking the precious lives of Americans across the country, including those of Alabamians in the Second Congressional District.
As an elected official, I believe that we must do all we can to help bring attention and awareness to this serious problem. I also believe it is our duty as leaders to educate the public on the proper resources that are available to help fight this battle, both on state and national levels.
Governor Kay Ivey recently announced that the Alabama Drug Enforcement Task Force (ADETF) under the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) has been awarded over $1.4 million by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat illegal drug use. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer these grants to ADETF’s seven regional offices across the state. Each regional office accounts for eight to 12 counties, which allows them the opportunity to focus their efforts closely on a designated area of the state. Federal grants are an important resource in which state and local governments, law enforcement agencies, and related organizations can apply for funds that aid in the fight against the opioid crisis.
Additionally this week, the White House released an update to the website FindTreatment.gov to improve the resources it can provide to those battling drug abuse. The website outlines services to drug abusers who are interested in seeking help through treatment programs. The site can also set up search filters to make navigation more easily accessible for specific users such as veterans. Resources like this website are crucial tools for those who want help overcoming drug addiction.
It is imperative that leaders on all levels are dedicated to ending this crisis that is tearing apart homes and families across our nation. We cannot continue to let this devastating epidemic steal hundreds of thousands of American lives. My hope for all those suffering is to reach out and use the various resources put in place. However, we all must be knowledgeable about the care available, and not just those who are suffering from addiction and abuse, but also those who are willing to act against this epidemic. I remain committed to fighting against this plague to ensure it comes to an end.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.