If the Democratic Party and Republican Party of Delaware wish to serve Delaware and its citizens, both parties must address new ways and approaches to the opioid crisis. With the upcoming election on Nov. 8, 2022, if Christopher Hill is elected without reassessing his views and relationship to the opioid crisis — or the Democratic and Republican parties continue their misunderstood approach to the opioid epidemic — the state of Delaware may rise from second in the United States for overdose mortality rates to first.
Hill describes on his website: “As a Delaware Board certified alcohol and drug counselor, the opiate and opioid crisis are one of my top priorities. And as such, I will be donating half of my salary as your congressman, distributed evenly, to all the substance abuse treatment facilities in the state of Delaware.”
But the questions we are not asking, as citizens of Delaware is: What role do the old forms and approaches to drug and alcohol counseling that Hill, the Republican Party of Delaware and Democratic Party of Delaware base their platforms on are outdated and the actual cause of this overdose pandemic.
Maybe I didn’t want to quit and couldn’t admit “I’m an addict.” But I did. It wasn’t about not wanting to get out of this – this predicament, no matter who’s fault I thought it was – that I was a heroin addict – that I was there, at Dover Behavioral Health, losing any sense of self, any self-definition – any ability to conceptualize that I was human, but any point that I had been human – it was that it was my second time in rehab before the summer of 2017 had even started. I had defended my oral exam, graduated, started doing speedballs and been to rehab twice before the summer started. The same people that were in my “graduating class,” at rehab, were back in the same spot–back here with me, again.
I said they preached about how my drug use would lead to prison, institutions, and death – but Dover Behavioral Health only led me to using again – which, incidentally, would lead me to not seeking help again. It had come to the point that I said “I’m not going to quit.” It seemed for shock factor but my wanting to keep using at the time tells me more of the rehab industrial complex of Delaware than myself. I had to write on the backs of AA and NA pamphlets during meetings, in rehab.
Freedom from rehab is nothing because even when they let me out the door, I never leave. I’m never helped. I have to prove that I can memorize NA and AA literature and not control the room, and once they’ve gotten all the money from my insurance, they check off that I have all the tools to live drug free.
Every decision is second-guessed because for the rest of my life, I am aware of this moment and no matter what I do to get out of this head space, whether I face it or not – I am always here. This is the help they sent me to. This is what they asked of their son and friend. And yet, what were they to do?
“We don't know who these people coming in are, we don't know their names, we don't know their intentions. We don't know if they if it's the fourth time that they're coming in, if they've already been deported. We don't know if they have criminal backgrounds. We don't know if they're smuggling drugs or people or women," Hill said. "That takes me right into...the opiate and drug epidemic across the country. 2021 is the first year in the history of the United States of America where we had over 100,000 drug overdose deaths. And that is a direct result of the open border policy the administration has.”
As we have seen, the Delaware Republican Party believes not only that immigrants are the reason for the opioid epidemic but by doing this they frame the overdose epidemic as an issue that only affects white people. This is not the case because all citizens across Delaware and the United States are overdosing. This line of thinking is dangerous because it neither considers the experience of all Americans, nor foresees the consequent increase in overdoses based on the current and consequent policies failing the citizens of Delaware and the United States within the opioid crisis. It is imperative for the Democratic Party and Republican Party of Delaware to apply radical acts of change to the opioid crisis. If not, Delaware will be first in overdose mortality rates.
Jordan McClements is a resident of Felton.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Delaware needs to take overdose mortality rates seriously. Here's why