FAYETTEVILLE - After 2 counties are designated as HIDTA areas, federal officials continue working with county leaders to stop the spread of drugs. Local communities are also doing their part to prevent the future generation from facing this epidemic head on. How are people around you handling the war on drugs?
In the final segment of the 'Kicking Our Fix' series, a local agency shared how they continue to tackle prevention.
After looking into what is being done to combat drugs on the Federal and State level, a local woman talked to Newswatch about her personal story regarding this topic. She also shared what her agency is doing to prevent drug addiction within the community.
Businesses and residents at the local level are most affected by the drug epidemic. The Director of the Fayette County Family Research Network, Aletha Stolar, said her community decided to take action.
"People were talking about how drugs were affecting their clients and what they were seeing in their organizations and who they dealt with and it was really destroying. Finally, one of the folks at the meeting said you know what, let's quit talking about it lets do something," said Stolar.
They call it ‘The Reality Tour.’ Stolar said it takes volunteers countless hours to plan and execute, but the impact it leaves is worth the work.
Stolar said, "a combination of live dramatization of everything from a drug dog arrest, to a jail scene, to an overdose like in the emergency department scene, and finally into a funeral. Throughout the whole thing is this narrative of 'once I was just like you'. We also have small group discussion so we talk about the different drugs, how you can get started, what leads to what."
Drug addiction is a growing concern, affecting more families each year. The topic, however, remains beneath the radar, which can be crippling to the intervention process.
"It's like almost a family shame as opposed to being open and honest about it,” said Stolar.
Stolar shared her own 'near-addiction' story to let people know it can happen to anyone, but help is available if you're willing to replace whatever substance you're using.
"I found myself counting out how many pills I had left, you know talked to the doctor and left a message and wanted to get another prescription. I think I called every day for 4 or 5 days, you know, I'd go by the pharmacy and see if it had been dropped off and then it really hit me like a sledge hammer; oh my gosh! I am actively seeking and chasing after these drugs. It really does trick your brain into thinking that you have a lot of pain and you need more pain medication," said Stolar.
Stolar said addicts seem to find loop holes in legislation, but hopefully someday their energy will be challenged to a more positive outlet. "These folks are really clever. I've always said, I wish they could turn this entrepreneurship into something positive,” said Stolar.