Clarifying drug coalition story

Dear Editor:

Thank you for the Times-Gazatte’s coverage of the Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition’s meetings, including Ms. Caldwell’s fine article on the presentation by Nan Cahall of U.S. Senator Portman’s office appearing in your 27 September issue.

Two items attributed to yours truly need some context, otherwise some readers may get an incorrect understanding.

The first had to do with the timing of Quick Response Team (QRT) intervention and treatment. I believe my full comment was something like: “Once a person enters the criminal justice system, connecting with treatment can be more difficult because their life has become more complex and their choices are diminished.” Court obligations and reduction of freedom is the consequence of breaking the law, as are treatment program’s bars to certain types of offenders. They are not in any way a fault of the criminal justice system. In fact, all the judges and courts in our county, the probation department, and the Adult Parole Authority provided treatment and diversion programs to identified addicts that will accept them before QRT was in operation; and they continue to improve and expand them. Those programs refer persons afflicted with the disease of drug addiction to many of the same providers as QRT. The criminal justice intervention programs are essential, as they may be the first place where a person is confronted with the personal and community damage done by their addictions. While I am praising often unsung heroes, I would also like to cite the caring family members, friends, teachers, doctors and nurses, clergy, employers and law enforcement officers who have all saved countless lives from death by substance abuse starting with a conversation that began with words like, “I am concerned about you…”

The other item needing clarification was that confidential social media outreach options reported on were those of the QRT. Each coalition member has its own social media.

With gratitude and appreciation,

R. Creed Culbreath