From Bridget E. Kelly
Every day we read about the growing problem of drugs in our community, in our world. We lament the devastation but we don’t seem to have any clues as to how to get started to tackle this growing problem. This inertia is only leading to more addictions, more deaths, and more crimes.
As a former high school principal, in the Philadelphia area, I have dealt with my horrible share of losing precious students to drugs. On too many occasions, I’ve dealt with the devastation of a community mourning a senseless loss. When I reflect back, my former community was most productive in addressing these issues when we finally came together and acknowledged that this was a community problem, not a government problem. Our business leaders, clergy, educators, parents, coaches, students, police, social agencies, etc. came together to work in cooperation to find solutions. We understood that drug addiction was like a plague. We finally understood that there was no singular solution, only multiple pathways to prevention and intervention. We began to understand we had to find individual treatments to address the unique needs of addicts.
We attacked the problem strategically rather than reactively. To do this, we were led by professionally trained individuals who have experience and knowledge about proven practices. We stopped immediately with any quick fixes which make us feel good about “doing something.” Once we had a few new programs in place, we started to see positive results. Unfortunate, we feel victim to talking ourselves in to believing we had the problem under control, so we stopped with so much of our interventions. Now, like Harford County and so many other places, this community is suffering from heroin deaths on a regular basis. We failed because we did not establish a long term commitment to stay ahead of this plague that is never going away. We failed to understand that this commitment was going to be costly but not nearly as costly as lost lives ad lost potential. I hope we can find the courage and the conviction to do the right thing in Harford County.
Bridget E. Kelly
Candidate for State Senate