To the Editor:

The worst threat to the United States is not its political divisions or its economic crises or its healthcare policy. It is the brilliant minds and talent being destroyed by the use of illicit and prescription drugs and deaths from drug overdoses.

Since 1999 more than 750,000 people have died from a drug overdose. Overdose deaths involving opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids (like fentanyl), have increased almost six times since 1999.

Between January and June of 2019, illicitly manufactured fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine were involved in nearly 85% of drug overdose deaths in this country. An estimated 72,000 Americans died through drug overdoses according to the CDC.

Too many brilliant minds have been destroyed. How much better would our country be if we had the skills, talents and brilliance of these individuals focused on solving the very real problems of the economy, the healthcare system and political discourse?

But there is hope. We can turn this around. The solution starts with providing effective drug rehabilitation programs to those who are already addicted and to preventing our next generation from continuing the cycle of addiction through education.

Narconon Arrowhead has provided these solutions for over 25 years. In alignment with its nonprofit mission, Narconon Arrowhead provides free drug information, referrals, and prevention programs to the general public.

Imagine what our country would be like if every one of those 750,000 lives lost had been saved.

Family members can be the spearhead of that change by being educated on drug addiction. Here is a resource to help families detect the early signs of addiction: https://www.narcononarrowhead.org/blog/signs-of-substance-abuse-how-family-members-can-detect-addiction.html

If you or someone you love is in need of help, call us at (877) 766-8428.

Jo-Ann Richardson

Canadian, Oklahoma

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