Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan's Espanola Drug Summit Sets the Stage for Unified Action
Yesterday, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03) met with members of the community in Espanola to talk about substance abuse in New Mexico. He was joined by a panel of experts that included elected officials, state health care and treatment providers, law enforcement officials and members of the community to discuss how to best fight substance abuse.
“Today I was proud to see our community standing together against this problem in our neighborhoods,” Rep. Lujan said at the summit. “This issue is very personal to everyone present today because substance abuse doesn’t just affect one person but penetrates our entire community. So to make an impact, we must work closely together to make sure that everyone -- from the people on the ground to the legislators in office -- is doing their part to fight this problem.”
According to Rep. Lujan's office, the summit focused on education, early prevention and taking a proactive approach to the problem. Community members at the summit emphasized that drug abuse is something that affects the entire community, and that was made clear by the stories of overdose and addiction told by those in attendance.
“It was a very productive discussion,” according to Herman Silva, a Santa Fe resident and a co-chair of the Interdiction Team, a team in Espanola that gathers together to overcome drug issues locally. “I think that having the panel and also hearing from the community, and maybe even the drug consumers, was great. They all seemed to agree that being proactive was the most important part.”
Rep. Lujan said he understands the longstanding substance abuse concerns facing our state and how they take a toll not only on the sufferer of the addiction but their family, friends and our society. He explained that he has fought to fund prevention and treatment programs and supported legislation in Congress that would focus on rehabilitation for young offenders.
“I am committed to the people of Northern New Mexico and of all New Mexico to working side by side in this fight against substance abuse,” Rep. Lujan said. “I’m proud I can walk away from this meeting knowing that we can move forward as a community to end this enduring problem.”
We all know that despite years of spending huge amounts of tax dollars on the so-called War on Drugs, it is quite easy to buy drugs. Of course since they are illegal, it means that billions are expended on police, prisons, welfare, and even telephones that inmates and parolees are allowed to purchase at exorbitant rates.
Seems like every industry has got a vested interest in keeping drugs criminalized.
Certainly the drug lords benefit. Probably the arms manufacturers who sell weapons to all sides do as well. Of course police departments have to be beefed up to deal with the criminals. And parole officers must be employed, drug counselors, etc. You get the picture.
If Rep. Lujan really wants to be productive and proactive, why doesn't he propose legislation to end the criminalization of drugs?
It's time to ask the perennial question, "Who benefits?"
Posted by: david87501 | Aug 18, 2010 9:45:40 PM
I agree that the "drug war" is an expensive boondoggle for the people you mention in the comment above. Marijuana should be legalized right away and be regulated and taxed. I don't think we can do that with heroin though and there is a terrible heroin addiction problem in northern NM and many other places in America. We should lower penalties for that and stop jailing people. Treatment and service should replace prison for addicts and substance abusers. It would be cheaper to create treatment centers than to keep putting people in prison for being addicts. Getting former addicts into jobs should also be a top priority.
Posted by: Joe | Aug 19, 2010 8:30:04 AM