Kudos for the courage and initiative in addressing the drug addiction crisis. Outstanding journalism, well thought through and well researched.

Too many deny, hide and ignore this crisis. We are all affected, yet we remain ignorant of the cause and effect. We hold fast to past attitudes and solutions. It’s vital we stand together and support all members of our communities.

We must look deeper into the causes that drive people to addictive drugs as a way to cope. It is urgent we find answers and solutions that work. Young people seem especially vulnerable. The lost potential in our youth is enormous.

Funding for school and community programs have been slashed year after year. Activities, classes, programs, counseling are eliminated. Now, funding for treatment of addiction is cut, leaving multitudes without help and resources. Remaining silent about these cuts will not make them go away.

Rather than treating drug-related crimes with prosecution and jail time, let’s choose to follow examples of states like Vermont, talked about in Part 1 of this series. Other countries with drug addiction issues changed direction with extraordinary success. Their example can guide us forward.

We must act, and first we must change our collective attitude. The perception of weakness, character flaws, bad choices keeps people from seeking help. Become aware and educated about drug addiction. Understand how the brain is seriously affected.

Crimes associated with drug addiction are the primary focus, while a person’s need to feed an addictive appetite is ignored. We disengage from the person and prosecute a criminal.

When someone falters, reach out and help them back up. What satisfaction can anyone have ensuring that a drug-related crime is prosecuted and a person put in jail? It is unconscionable to seek retribution without concern for a person’s future. Let’s restore the humanness in humanity.

Elsan Zimmerly

New Harbor