Addiction is a disease. Initially, our country encouraged a law enforcement approach. The approach has been inequitably applied and proven that it is impossible to arrest away a disease. These efforts destroyed trust, ignored cultural needs, and failed to address the disease or the mental health challenges and trauma that prevent communities from healing.
The current opioid crisis has been misperceived as White American problem with a pharmaceutical company as the pariah. Instead of law enforcement, the government has responded with resources and initiatives sent predominantly to suburban communities. Minority communities are barely touched and highly suspicious after years of being labeled addicts, junkies and law enforcement problems.
This approach has failed. Overdose deaths are higher than ever. Our Bridging Prevention and Recovery (BPR) program, along with our other SAFE Communities tools, and resources, destroys silos and helps communities build solutions by themselves – for themselves. It creates sustainment, by building community, infusing culture, reducing deaths and ensuring racial equity and healing.