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Editorial: Seaford Goes Purple campaign aims to end substance abuse

September 11, 2018

A major effort is underway in Sussex County to unite the community to understand the substance abuse epidemic and combat it through preventing and reducing substance abuse.

Sussex County Health Coalition has launched a Drug Free Awareness Campaign, beginning in Seaford, with the Seaford Goes Purple campaign.

The Cape Gazette has also gone purple today, uniting with this effort to understand, treat and prevent substance abuse, which has claimed the lives of 151 people statewide this year, just through July.

The campaign aims well beyond simply raising awareness of substance abuse, which by now has touched thousands of local families, not only in Seaford but across Sussex and the Cape Region.

The campaign will analyze resources available to addicts and their families to ensure help is available. But this task force has set the goal to go beyond treatment and become an agent for changing community conditions, structures, policies and institutions to stem the tide of substance abuse.

Providing treatment and assistance to families struggling with addiction are necessary steps. But as the Seaford Goes Purple campaign recognizes, building more treatment facilities is not going to end this epidemic.

This campaign will focus on larger issues, which should include better mental health services in schools and workplaces, more extensive community or religion-based support for families before they deal with addiction, better job options for young people and displaced workers, and even a change in our attitudes toward pain management.

Former NBA star Chris Herren and the Chris Herren Project have also joined the Seaford Goes Purple effort. Herren will offer a personal take on substance abuse and recovery, appearing at 7 p.m. tonight, Sept. 11, at Crossroad Community Church in Georgetown. The public is encouraged to attend.

Substance abuse is rotting our communities from within, especially as young people who should be building their careers and contributing to their communities are instead draining public resources and devastating their families. The substance abuse epidemic touches everyone, and we must all become part of the effort to end it.

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Laura Ritter, news editor, and Dennis Forney, publisher, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.