Printed Letters: Sept. 15, 2016

Addiction is much more than a drug problem
I wanted to re-cap on the community-organized Overdose Awareness Event and Candlelight Vigil held at the steps of the Old County Courthouse on August 31st, International Overdose Awareness Day. 

This was the second annual event in Mesa County and was a tremendous success. We had over 60 attendees which is a 400 percent increase from last year. Multiple companies and organizations partnered to make this event possible for the community with very little out of pocket expenses to the organizing team. I wanted to thank all the volunteers and speakers who contributed selflessly and openly: Rib City Grill for feeding our volunteer staff, Snob Productions and crew for providing all the audio and visual equipment, Mind Springs Health and Summit View Treatment Center for providing information on local treatment resources, and WESCAP for providing the life-saving Narcan/Naloxone demonstration. I’d also like to thank all the local media coverage from The Daily Sentinel, The Criterion, Channel 11 and 8 News, and K-Star and The Vault radio stations.

Next year we hope to see more person-serving agency and organization leadership at the event including local politicians, Mesa County and Grand Junction officials and administrators; health care, behavioral health, public health, human services, criminal justice and corrections, law-enforcement and other first-responders as we all are stakeholders of the community directly affected by the social and economic impact of addiction and overdose. Through leadership, a person-centered culture of compassion with accountability can translate to each person we serve affected by or struggling with addiction where every interaction between service provider and receiver could be therapeutic and life-changing. This is the ripple effect that can transform entire communities for the better, as opposed to the ripple effect of addiction that harms our community.

The main message of the event was that addiction is so much more than a drug problem; it’s a relationship problem often determined by environmental influences occurring early in young people’s lives where they have no healthy defense to stave off the violence, neglect, fears, and other traumas of their childhood. Children can become hard-wired for violence and addiction which will only continue the cycle of behaviors that often land people in the criminal justice system, cycles of recidivism, or cycles of continued relapse. As a community, we can all take responsibility; we can be heroes.

CHRIS LAWRENCE
Grand Junction


Trail advocates show little respect for property owners
Sunday’s “You Said It” expressed anonymous complaints about recreational use of ditchbanks.  They said the “liability” issue doesn’t exist.  With more than 30 years of argument, they are still blind to the reality that does exist.

Most ditchbanks don’t belong to the ditch companies. Those of us who actually own the properties beneath the canals pay taxes on the property. We also pay for the use of the water.  And neither the public nor the trail advocates have any respect at all for the property owners. They dismiss us like we simply don’t exist.

These people go out of their way to find ways to purchase property through taxpayers for trails like the Lunch Loop and that is not enough.  There are trails all over on private vacant property where the public has no right to go. They even advertise these trails on private property over the internet.

But their hidden bully comes out in regard to ditchbanks. They are rude, unwilling to listen to our objections, and will discuss nothing except that they should have these trails. And it has been this way since they initiated their desires so many years ago. So what they get in return is our anger.  They have never even offered any type of compensation or help to keep these vital waterways operating for the benefit of all valley residents.

Maybe property owners and irrigation companies should sue the trail advocates for harassment if they’re so unconcerned about liability.

EILEEN O’TOOLE
Grand Junction


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