May 23, 2024
Annapolis, US 73 F

Karen Simpson: Simpson tough on recovery (Guest Column)

Do you love someone affected by the opioid and heroin epidemic? Almost everyone does.

According to the Center for the Study of Local Issues Anne Arundel Community College Spring 2018 Report, the most important issue facing our community is our drug crisis. Yet very few feel our current elected officials understand the problem enough to have a positive impact upon finding a solution.

Opioids and other addictions are healthcare problems.

My family wrestled with the destructive grasp of addiction. My beloved brother Danny died by suicide at age 23. The wake of dysfunction addictions and mental illness left my family inspired me to obtain my Master’s in Community Counseling at Towson University.

Our children and families deserve freedom from the opioid epidemic.

It will not go away without our intervention. It is heart breaking to drive by our Police Headquarters and see over 253 overdoses as of just the beginning of April right here in Anne Arundel County. There are 43 families grieving the loss of a loved one to an overdose.

My husband served as a Police Department Chaplain and he responded to many fatal overdose calls right here in our district. As your delegate, I will work to assure effective treatment is available for our friends and family caught in addictions snare.  We will stop frustrating our judicial system with an epidemic they are not qualified to rehabilitate.

Our opioid epidemic is a mental health and substance abuse issue. It is complicated.

People burdened by addiction and their families need services. Addiction is already tough. Our judicial system isn’t equipped to rehabilitate our family members addicted to drugs.

Tough on drug campaigns don’t work. People don’t stop using or selling drugs because they are afraid of going to jail. If it did, our drug epidemic would have been solved when these campaigns were initiated 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago and 4 years ago.

We don’t need bigger prisons. We don’t need to get tougher. We need more treatment centers. Our mental health and substance abuse communities must be given the resources to lead us to recovery. It shouldn’t be so difficult to get treatment.

As a community, we need treatment to rebuild from the destruction.

As your delegate, I will sponsor and support legislation to fund the resources our substance abuse and mental health communities need. I will sponsor and support legislation that expands healthcare plans to include mental health and substance abuse treatment. Treatment shouldn’t be a luxury for the very rich. These initiatives would not only help protect Marylanders, but also create jobs.

I will also sponsor and support legislation to strengthen laws to ensure doctors who over prescribe or sell opioids lose their license and are liable for the destruction they cause.

I understand the problems facing our community. I will be a voice of change to solve those problems. I know how these problems can be treated.

Let’s make a difference together.

–Karen Simpson

Note: Karen Simpson is a candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates in District 31B. We encourage all readers to learn all they can about the candidates that will appear on the ballot. Here is a link to Sinpson’s website.

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