December 3, 2022

Drug misuse solution: Extricate the drug pushers?

Panama seized record amount of drugs in 2021: president

Panamanian troops guard almost 3,500 packets of drugs seized in October 2021 – Copyright AFP Arif KARTONO

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the U.S. has recorded more than 108,000 overdose deaths over the past 12 months. This is a step up from a similar number in 2021, and up again from a decade ago, in 2012.

Everyday there are more headlines about Fentanyl seizures and related overdoses. This is what those active in the drug recovery community have come to call the ‘epidemic within the pandemic’.

Dave Marlon, Founder & CEO, as well as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor Supervisor at VegasStronger (and formerly CEO of CrossRoads of Southern Nevada)as spoken and campaigned extensively on this subject.

Marlon is also an interventionist on A&E’s television show Intervention, where he goes into the tunnels beneath Las Vegas to counsel patients.

Marlon explains to Digital Journal about the recent overdose news, beginning with the source material: “Noah Weiland and Margot Sanger-Katz wrote an accurate article describing the problem of overdoses in the US and fentanyl.”

Marlon goes on, moving to the epicentre of the current problem: “The cartels and Big Pharma each have a role in the proliferation of this epidemic.  They started it, and they continue it.”

The government response is also flawed, in Marlon’s opinion: “The US federal response of massive harm reduction like distributing needles and proliferation of Buprenorphine is misguided.”

Instead, Marlon purposes: “Educating the communities on the danger of opiates, pulling the community together to be assertive about it, making treatment available immediately, increasing treatment durations are better long term strategies.”

He adds: “The needle exchange in Las Vegas surpassed 1,000,000 needles handed out.  At some point we need to acknowledge that the harm reduction fervor has gone too far. While moving a person from heroin to Buprenorphine is clearly safer, moving 5,000,000 people addicted to opiates to 5,000,000 addicted to Suboxone is not the end game either.”

Moving on to practical solutions, Marlon says: “There is a beautiful story I heard about Dublin Ireland. In Dublin when concerned parents finally had enough they form these groups to extricate the drug pushers. This was a beautiful portrayal of community. The fact that it involved parents whose children were being threatened made the resistance of this group formidable. And the pushers had to go. The community pulled together and pushed out the heroin dealers.  When I talk about a community pulling together this is my dream.”