hank you to the Homer News for providing me the opportunity and space for my commentary about the opioid problem facing our community. Thank you also to the many community members who have shared their stories with me as this conversation becomes more public.
Last week I shared my concern about the rising use of heroin and other opioids in our community, and how we can do more to prevent the onset of their use. This installment addresses the need to understand and support treatment for those persons already dependent on or addicted to these substances.
My previous use of terms like opioids and opiates may have caused unneeded confusion. To correct that and to further today’s discussion about treatment I cite this definition of opioid, from the National Institute of Health:
We need to talk. Often those words announce a difficult but necessary conversation among partners, families or friends about the health of their relationship. Today I use them to start such a conversation among neighbors about the health of our community.
I want to send a big thank you to the Mariner football program, and Coach Scott Cardoza in particular, for all the work he did in organizing and presenting the activities celebrating the new turf field last weekend. I am especially grateful for the effort Scott made to include as many user groups as possible in this celebration. His inclusive approach reflected the shared effort it took to get the funding passed to build the field, and it starts the history of the field on a positive note of collaboration. What a great message for the community and our youth.
How does one engage, teach, lodge, feed and inspire more than 160 youth from around the state for three days and nights in April? Ask one’s community to help. Facing the task of hosting this year’s statewide Youth Court conference in Homer, we asked our neighbors, friends, city and local businesses, schools and nonprofits for help. Every single one of you stepped up and helped us realize our dream of an interactive and thought-provoking symposium of new ideas, skills, knowledge and activities.
When Homer’s varsity soccer teams opened their seasons Friday on Colony High’s shiny new artificial turf playing field, it was the first time all year that Homer players had gotten outdoors to play. Homer’s grass field was still sodden and untouchable.
For their opponents from Houston High, who have access to state-funded turf and indoor fields in the Valley and Anchorage, it was already the fourth game of the year.