Community Drug Interventions Led by Legislators & Ambrosia

Ambrosia continues to push for appropriate legislation and represents over 23 millions of Americans dealing with addiction.

This week, Dave Bontempo, Outreach Coordinator for Ambrosia, is scheduled to appear at Philadelphia’s third series of community meetings on drug addiction alongside PA Representative John Taylor, an advocate for fighting the war on addiction.

“People think drinking alcohol or taking an opioid for pain is safe,” states Taylor. “The truth is alcohol and drug addiction do not discriminate. The best way to fight this growing epidemic is through a better understanding of how drug abuse begins and what help is available for those seeking recovery.”

Dave Bontempo (right) and pro skateboarder Brandon Novak (left) earlier this year.
Dave Bontempo (right) and pro skateboarder Brandon Novak (left) discussing their recovery.

The 177th Legislative District of Philadelphia has seen its fair share of disheartening outcomes from the gamut of drug abuse that plagues the city. For example, in 2015, the opiate antidote, Narcan was introduced to law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS personnel to administer in case of overdose emergencies. As of September, Narcan was administered 253 times throughout the state, excluding one area in South Philly. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s annual report, “Although the number of fatal overdoses will fall, the rate of abuse will not be impacted without continued joint law enforcement and public health efforts to address supply and abuse.”

On a national level, President Obama recently spoke at Atlanta’s drug abuse summit, declaring the efforts to fight the epidemic as underfunded and the approach used to help the addict is ineffective as well. “For too long we have viewed the problem of drug abuse generally in our society through the lens of the criminal justice system,” President Obama says.

“Instead of incarcerating those suffering from addiction, they should be treated for the medical condition that it is.”

By proposing medications that help curb the use of heroin or painkillers, treatment will be expanded for tens of thousands of people.

As to why Representative John Taylor is hosting the inclusive series for families, he exclaims, “[Addiction] is devastating to both the individual fighting the disease and those surrounding them.”

At the beginning of his political career, Taylor correlated the increasing crime rate in his home state to the rampant drug use that was taking over his loved ones. Joseph Ashdale, longtime family friend of Taylor and now the Family and Alumni Coordinator for Ambrosia, fell victim to the disease of addiction before attending one of Ambrosia’s Palm Beach rehab facilities. Representative Taylor has seen Joe’s growth in recovery many years later, further fueling his passion for educating families about addiction.

During the second meeting of Philadelphia’s drug addiction series held March 31st, there will be appearances from advocacy groups such as Angels in Motion, a dedicated group that is working with Ambrosia’s Advocacy Program. The series will implement a community intervention. Rep. John Taylor states,

“Our main focus is to connect people with the resources they need and to have an open dialogue with the community about the crisis.”

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