Thursday, March 20, 2014

That went well, too

West Virginia's Secretary of State, Natalie Tennant, came to our little town for a round-table discussion on the prescription drug problem we have. We probably had 40 community leaders present, representing government, health care, churches, law enforcement and plain old everyday folks.

The latest Rx pain med, another extended-
release hydrocodone formula. The label 
clearly says "Do not chew, crush or dissolve." 
Sounds like directions to get high to me.
We all hope this is not the end of the discussion. Ms. Tennant left armed with the knowledge that we have a big problem and we have some resources to help combat it, but probably not enough. She's running for the U.S. Senate, so the event was a fact-finding mission as she campaigns throughout the state. But she wasn't there as a candidate. She really seemed more interested as a citizen who happens to have some clout. And a young daughter.

If there was consensus, it's that parents and teachers and church leaders and coaches – all those who care about and interact with young children – need to begin educating those young children about the consequences of using and abusing drugs at a much younger age. Today's nine-year-old is twice as old as I was when I was nine. Stop-smoking programs have greatly reduced tobacco use among young people. Modeling a similar strategy seems like a good beginning.

We all agreed on the need to stop the supply. Doctors are the ones prescribing these drugs, but they have no idea what happens to the pills once they're sold to the patient.

Really though? The scientist or sociologist or clergy who figures out why some people need to alter their consciousness will be the hero of the day. We're stuffing the leaks in the dam with wads of chewing gum (Nicorettes, probably), trying to come up with after-the-fact fixes.

Today is our county Democratic women's club meeting and tonight I'll be traveling to the capitol for a dinner at the Governor's mansion. Of course my biggest concern is what to wear.

I'm so shallow. And vain. But in the best possible way, right?

I'd hoped to get a walk in this morning. The weather is not cooperating, but maybe when day breaks I'll just bundle up and do it anyway. I managed six miles yesterday at a pretty good clip, averaging 15-minute miles. Which sounds like walking to both of you, I'm sure, but included plenty of jogging for me.

The best part of stepping up the pace is that I'm not sore or unusually tired afterward. I feel really good, in fact, which is an incentive to keep doing it. Not every day … but two or three times a week would be a good way to keep the momentum going.

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