Tag Archives: mayor steve williams

Mark Caserta: Building a city on drug rehab is a disastrous business plan.

26 Oct

COURTHOUSE

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Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for the conservative blog,  “Free State Patriot”

October 26, 2019


 

Anyone who tells you Huntington, WV. is successfully addressing its devastating level of drug addiction via its rehab efforts, is trying to sell something.

To say that Huntington is “spinning its wheels” in dealing with drug abuse is a monumental understatement. We are, indeed, digging ourselves into a trench from which it will be very difficult to escape. And sadly, we have leadership who believes in doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

In fact, our city leaders are unable to offer any confirmable metric showing any sustainable level of success at reducing opioid addiction within our own city.

It gets worse.

Reliable sources have confirmed we now have rehab facilities actively sourcing addicts outside our city limits, encouraging them to come to Huntington for treatment.

Why? Why bring them to our city – our centers for treatment? Why not help duplicate efforts in their own communities and educate their personnel on providing treatment to their citizens rather than bring them here. And furthermore, what is their incentive to ever leave?

Well, just follow the government money feeding these institutions.

According to a recent information provided by AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans), a national association whose members provide coverage for healthcare and related services, under Mayor Steve Williams’ leadership, “Huntington has become known as the ‘epicenter of the solution’ to the opioid epidemic”

Really? Many informed individuals vehemently disagree!

Huntington has become the epicenter of the “problem” and rapidly becoming the East Coast provider for rehab services! Additionally, we offer a city-sponsored level of enablement incentivizing these people to stay, virtually living a lifestyle supported by taxpayers!

Reportedly, since 2015, the City of Huntington, WV. has acquired $4.8 million in state, federal and philanthropic grants to combat the opioid epidemic.

What do we have to show for it?

Has the Mayor’s Office of Drug Control Policy been effective in utilizing the so-called “harm reduction program”, adult drug court and drug overdose response team to reduce the problem? Or have they simply enabled behaviors and attempted to build an “economic model” on drug rehab?

How do you build an economic model on addiction? What economic future is there for taxpayers in a business that never increases cash flow in a city, and even adversely impacts current business?

city of huntington

Let’s be clear. Until people have hope in this city for a real future, both socially and economically, we are doomed to a perpetuation and ultimate increase in the socio-economic woes we’ve seen grow under the current city administration.

Don’t take my word for it! Listen to what experts have to say!

Per a 2017 report from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “The brain adapts and responds to the environments and conditions in which a person lives. When we speak of addiction as a chronic disorder of the brain, it thus includes an understanding that some individuals are more susceptible to drug use and addiction than others, not only because of genetic factors but also because of stress and a host of other environmental and social factors in their lives that have made them more vulnerable.”

The report goes on to say that while opioid addiction is an “equal opportunity” problem that can afflict people from all races and walks of life, it has particularly impacted some of the poorest regions of the country, such as Appalachia, where vast numbers of people are living in poverty. These individuals, void of economic hope, are especially at risk for addiction, and subsequent consequences like overdose or the spread of HIV.

Sound familiar?

Bottom line: A population facing increasing economic challenges and increased psychological stress are disproportionately impacted by addiction.

If we ever expect to reduce drug addiction in our city, we must improve the economic model.

Look around you. When was the last time you saw the construction of business that could provide a living wage to the inhabitants of our area? People are hurting. Many of them are working two and three jobs just to make ends meet. Others aren’t even trying. They’re either leaving the area or being engulfed by the quick sand of hopelessness and despair. Yet, we have a city administration which seems oblivious to a solution.

Yes, there is definitely a need for rehabilitation and re-assimilation into society. We all care about people either bound by addiction or languishing in the hopelessness of poverty. But without economic improvement, without jobs, without hope, more and more people will fall into the calamitous abyss of addiction.

The City of Huntington, WV. will never see economic improvement until leadership begins putting people, not political gain, first.  And building a city on rehab, is a disastrous business plan.

 

 

 

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