I take the opioid epidemic which has encroached on our town very seriously and intend to implement any quality solutions that are presented. I believe - and evidence supports this belief - that treating substance abuse is not simply a matter of emergency preparedness (though this is not to be overlooked), but prevention and compassionate treatment for recovering victims. The key to prevention is twofold: education and intervention. Both begin with strengthening our bonds as a community. Education begins in the schools but must not end there; we must ensure that our young population has accurate, age-appropriate information available to them. It is equally important that we validate and encourage the interests of our young people, whatever those interests may be. I want to collaborate with Parks and Recreation to expand after-school activities and mentorship programs in a wide variety of recreations, so that each child feels supported by and included in their community.
Correlated to education is intervention, in the form of accessible, thorough mental health services. The opioid crisis is not only a criminal issue (though criminal activity may be a distressing symptom), but rather a mental health issue. If we are to rid our community of the traumatic ramifications of this terrible illness, we must begin by treating the source. I am adamant in my conviction that mental health providers are at the forefront of the fight to eradicate substance abuse, and plan to do everything I can to support this endeavor. Our Town Board must show leadership in pursuing and obtaining greater levels of service from the county and other levels of government.
I am against the legalization of recreational marijuana, as it is my personal view that stripping drug dealers of their current business will compel them through a gateway into the solicitation of harder substances, in turn increasing the danger to our citizens. We learn from the history of the repeal of Prohibition that when alcohol was declared legal, bootleggers transitioned into drug dealing for unscrupulous monetary gain. If the sale of marijuana is taken away from drug dealers, they will certainly move to selling more dangerous substances. In addition, state governments have made questionable promises that they will direct taxes gained from the sale of marijuana to the benefit of our communities. Those with a knowledge of history will recall the same types of promises made when the Lottery was implemented and we, the public, never saw those promises fulfilled.
In my view, medical marijuana is a different case. I support the use of medical marijuana or its extracts as a comfort drug for those with serious illnesses. Under close control and under a physician’s care, medical marijuana appears to supply some relief to those in dire need.
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