There are a lot of drugs being used in Akron.
People that don't use illegal drugs often have a disconnect with people that do use illegal drugs.
It's a pretty silly separation if you think about it.
Heroin is often met with shock and a touch of disgust in certain circles in our community. But in reality it's just an opioid that falls within the class including hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian, Avinza) and codeine.
And the sad truth is that heroin is increasing in the middle class because a person can't afford or get legal opioids.
We are a society that loves our drugs:
And of course: Alcohol.
The most disruptive, dangerous drug in our society is alcohol.
The point of this is to simply realize that we are all on drugs. Some happen to be approved of in our laws and communities and some aren't. That's all.
Which brings me to PAARI:
The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) was started to support local police departments as they work with opioid addicts. Rather than arrest our way out of the problem of drug addiction, P.A.A.R.I. committed police departments: Encourage opioid drug users to seek recovery Help distribute life saving opioid blocking drugs to prevent and treat overdoses Connect addicts with treatment programs and facilities Provide resources to other police departments and communities that want to do more to fight the opioid addiction epidemic
Police are typically given one tool to deal with people using drugs: Arrest them.
They aren't in the business of making policy. They are simply implementing the process given to them.
The war on drugs has been going on since the Nixon administration in 1971. That was the year I was born. Truly, since the day I was born we have been having a war on drugs.
In June 2011, a self-appointed Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report on the War on Drugs, declaring: "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.
This is yet one more major change that is happening in our communities all across the world.
PAARI is putting forth some really interesting ideas as how to deal with drug users moving forward.
Under this plan drug addicts who ask the police department for help will be immediately taken to a hospital and placed in a recovery program. No arrest. No jail.
We also work to remove the stigma associated with drug addiction, turning the conversation toward the disease of addiction rather than the crime of addiction.
Akron is a perfect city to test implementing ideas like PAARI.
We clearly have a big drug problem. But we aren't so big that we can't make a meaningful dent on the situation.
We are on the cusp of an amazing time in history, Akron. I'll ask again, if you want to see Akron stop declining in population and doing very little in the way of utilizing our entrepreneurs and 27,000 students at the University of Akron, please seriously consider me as your next mayor.
I don't have big party money to just spend endlessly so you will remember my name on election day, September 8.