Deadly drug reminder of why we need collaboration

THE name of the drug itself is ominous: Gray Death. It’s a dangerous mixture of heroin, fentanyl, elephant tranquilizer and synthetic opioids that produce what looks like a concrete mix.

Gray Death hasn’t turned up yet in Bartholomew County, but it’s likely just a matter of time considering an overdose on this new concoction occurred in Greenwood recently.

That’s a huge concern because Bartholomew County has had too many overdoses, including fatal, linked to heroin or mixtures of it with fentanyl in the past few years.

What Gray Death represents is another reminder of the seriousness of the opioid crisis and how important a collaborative community effort will be to overcome the drug problem.

Gray Death won’t be the last new drug to raise concerns, so the community must be vigilant in producing long-term strategies.

This latest drug of concern underscores recent local efforts to tackle the drug problem, such as:

Creating the drug task force called the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress in Bartholomew County, which involves faith-based organizations, law enforcement, the court system, social services and health officials working together to achieve solutions to the community’s substance abuse problems. The task force focuses on prevention, intervention and treatment, and recovery from opioids.

Engaging community residents, such as the “Moving the Needle: Community Forum” that drew 650 people to The Commons on April 19 to learn more about the opioid crisis locally and nationally, and what steps are being made or should be made to combat it

Discussing the need for a local or regional inpatient drug treatment center and how one could be established

The introduction of Gray Death also reinforces the importance of efforts such as D.A.R.E., a national program that works to educate children early about the dangers of drugs. If an effort such as D.A.R.E. can prevent children from ever trying drugs, that means fewer addicts and addiction problems that communities have to deal with later.

Bartholomew County, like many other communities, faces a serious health crisis because of upward trends of opioid addiction and overdoses. It’s a problem that isn’t going away soon and requires an all-hands community approach because something is at stake for everyone to some degree. Gray Death is the latest reminder.

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