Monday, October 19, 2009

Do you have something to say about drug use and treatment in Ward 1?

The City Council’s Committee on Health (Councilmember David Catania, At-large, committee chair) is learning from the public their view on service delivery – access, options, special populations, etc. – by the Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration’s services and its contractors.   The committee had scheduled an oversight roundtable for October 15 but a scheduling conflict forced the cancellation.   Public comments are due to the committee by 5:30 pm on Wednesday, October 21.   Send to Jen Barry, Committee on Health, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 115, WDC 20004.   Or email to jbarry [AT] dccouncil [DOT] us.

Why does this matter to Ward 1?   Well, consider these facts:

  • Ward 1 had the greatest number of alcohol-related robberies in 2006.
  • Ward 1 ranked second in police issuance of driving under the influence infractions in 2006.
  • Death from chronic liver disease, lung cancer, and emphysema were common causes of death between 2001 and 2005; these diseases largely affected adult Black males.
  • Young people over age 12 reported using/consuming illicit drugs at the same rate as their peers in other wards.
  • An average of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 between 2002 and 2004 needing but not receiving treatment for illicit drug use was higher than averages for adults over age 26.   (
  • As of February 2008, there were two substance abuse services providers located in Ward 1.   (

As you well know, drug use affects individuals, families, and communities and all of us in one way or another pay the cost of use and addiction.   If you are a service provider, you have a story to tell.   You could present data on the co-occurrence of drug use and homelessness for example.   You could also talk about the challenges facing your organization in serving clients with drug problems by comparing non-drug related cases with those involving drugs.   If you are a resident, you could talk about the challenges of living in a community with open air drug markets or drug-related violence as a way of life for some.

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