On Sunday, The Guam Daily Post started a series of stories on the struggles individuals face in overcoming drug addiction.
We say kudos to all out there who are trying to get sober for themselves and the ones they love. From what we are learning through this series, "Road to Recovery," we know that the disease of addiction is not easy to overcome and we wish all of the people in the series and everyone facing those same struggles the best of luck.
Second, we know that there are many people who want to help and who work tirelessly to keep drugs off the streets and to teach our children how to say no to drugs. From the people at the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center and Guam Police Department, to the Judiciary of Guam and Guam National Guard, as well as many nongovernment organizations, there are dozens of educational outreach programs that spread the gospel of positive life habits and the dangers of drug abuse.
We also know that these discussions and outreach activities can work. In one case, GPD did an outreach and one student told the police officer that the adults at home used drugs. Police and education officials worked together and the adults were arrested.
But we also know that there's so much more that needs to be done. And much of that starts with funding.
"We had more demand for services than we had availability," said Benny Pinaula.
The former deputy administrator at GBHWC summed up the need to provide financial support to programs that act as a lifeline for individuals struggling to beat their addictions.
We're not talking about throwing money at the problem. We can see how that's not working in the U.S. mainland, where millions of dollars are spent in the name of recovery and rehabilitation. Prisons across the nation deal with drug users who walk out of prison only to walk back in, and Guam is not far behind.
We need a solution that individuals in our island community will respond to – one that prioritizes prevention but also commits necessary resources to drug abuse therapies.
If our elected leaders are serious about protecting our children and securing the future of our island, they have to figure out how to get a grip on this insidious disease that is robbing so many of our loved ones away from a good and happy life. Let's build programs that respond to the needs of individuals trying to direct their lives away from drug abuse. We must ensure that these programs are easily accessible so that wherever they are, whether it's in school or prison, or out in the community, they can learn how to better overcome their addiction for good.