The epidemic problem of illegal drugs and opioid and chemical abuse has impacted all areas and all levels of income in our country. The many facets of the problem were discussed as a full house packed into a meeting room of the Colfax County Building on Tuesday, November 14th. Representatives of US Senators Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, Raton City and Colfax County law enforcement and elected officials, service providers, business owners and members of the media gathered to address and try to find common ground for the ever-growing problems associated with drug abuse and addiction. All agreed their devastating effects on families and the community is approaching emergency levels and a solution must be sought.
Carol Bridge of the World Journal was the first to address the group. Bridge was the impetus for the gathering because after many interviews with separate agencies, she realized that most all of the resources and information for drugs were either going to Santa Fe or other providers outside of the community and that the only way we could find a solution was to do it ourselves.
Paul Jenkins of GrowRaton served as the facilitator and the community impacts listed were most all negative including multi-generational addiction, increased crime and violence, increased cost for medical service and the healthcare system in general, incarceration, insurance liability and a diminished work force. However, all was not negative, as those attending also reached some of their expectations as the lines of communication were opened and the resources now available.were identified, of which many in attendance were unaware.
It’s a complicated problem we face, from acceptance of abuse as “normal”, to lack of public awareness, lack of professional staff and facilities, even our isolated geographical location works against us.
The next step in the process was unclear, but it was clear from the number in attendance that the problem is recognized as a top priority and admitting you have a problem is the first step in solving it.
Any organization or agency that would like to be a part of the solution, please call 575-707-3782, or 970 568 6969.