Sam Quinones, wrote Dreamland, a book about the history and causes of the opioid crisis. According to him, it is not all bad. There's hope. (Read to the very end of blog) I want to share some informative gems that came from our speaker and also a panel of community leaders. This consisted of Mayor Tyler, Meridian staff, Sen Jim Merritt, Dr. Walker, a pain specialist, Zach Craig, etc. We got the picture. Muncie is in a crisis. The police are tied up day and night with drug related emergencies. It is staggering. Muncie has been the home to an unusual number of hold-ups at pharmacies, and on and on. According to national data, life expectancy has gone down. It is because of more and more suicides and over doses in the young. Muncie desperately needs a continuum of care.
We have a lot to overcome. Politics gets in the way. The news gets in the way. He said the news is a lot like heroin because it is available night and day and we can find anyone who rants for hours on the boob tube about something you want to get excited about and then fret and stew about the opposition. He believes in healthy communities who put aside partisan politics. We must be patient and understanding toward those who conflict. Because of technology we are combatting isolation, and there is a huge lack of community and face to face communication.
I was glued to what our speaker, Sam, had to say. I read his book which is a daunting account of it all, but he added a big piece of hope. There is good in this epidemic. Huh?
When we are faced with a problem so big, it is messy, and it feels like we are stumbling in the dark. He issued the message that we need to embrace the mess. Go ahead and feel the pain of it all and then step by step come together with others.
"You can't see it ...YET," he said passionately. "Achieving goals in tiny steps...it's not "sexy".
He goes on to say that the epidemic is good in the fact that "it shows us, in the face, what we have done."
It is so horrid that we are moved to immerse ourselves in community collaboration and be willing to take it in small steps. Efforts are not always noticed but there are efforts and as we leverage the talents , people's influence will become like wild bright dandelions springing up all over a field.
Later, Rhea Graham, a member of the panel emphasized compassion for every drug addict. They don't necessarily need jail. They need acceptance as a fellow human being who has a disease and needs help.
What HOPE did I take home It was the same hope I have daily in my personal trying times. With struggle and pain comes growth and if we allow it to, it connects us with others.