Last week I participated in a prescription drug abuse forum at Valley Center High School. Representatives from North County Mental Health, the Sheriff’s Department, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the F.B.I. discussed this growing problem.
My initial experience with this issue was during my involvement with the San Diego County Opioid Task force as an Escondido City Councilmember earlier this decade. As a parent, I was shocked to learn about drug abuse in young people, how to recognize it and what to do about it. This information must be available to all parents.
In this regard, I introduced AB 182, the Heroin and Opioid Public Education (HOPE) Act, requiring the State Department of Health to develop a comprehensive education program on heroin and opioid abuse to help the public identify danger signs and find the resources to get needed help.
Each October my office participates in Red Ribbon Week, which seeks to educate children about the dangers posed by illicit drug use and the “Just Say No to Drugs” campaign. Thousands of elementary and middle school students throughout the 75th Assembly District receive Red Ribbon certificates from me each year encouraging them to live drug free lives.
I am also participating on the coordinating committee of a 5-year Stanford Neurosciences Institute initiative to share ideas between scientists and policymakers focused on drug addiction. This national initiative tasks members to develop plans to provide ongoing advice and guidance to maximize the effectiveness of the latest research on public policy.
These are just a few small steps in the ongoing struggle against drug abuse. Helping to save just one person will make the effort worthwhile.
Minority Floor Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.