The City-County National Task Force on the Opioid Epidemic is calling for strong leadership to begin at the local level, and with a report it published on Thursday, the task force is arming officials with a playbook for taking action in their communities.
The Delray Beach Drug Task Force has created an environment that combines the efforts of city government, responders, educators, law enforcement, hospitals and recovery centers. It is a long battle but we are finding solutions. The problem has cast a wide net of dysfunction requiring an approach that anticipates problems of tomorrow while finding solutions for today. Our hope is that Delray Beach can be used as a model for other cities facing similar problems.
There are so many rewarding parts of having the honor to lead the DBDTF for the last 5 years. I am passionate about serving our community and all of its citizens. I get to ask and remind people of their "why" and their responsibility to be true to those values for the betterment of the community and those they made a commitment to serve. We, the DBDTF, get to see lives changed and lives saved. We also ensure that our City of Delray Beach knows that an organization is out there working for the needs of the whole community.
Suzanne Spencer has taken the task force to new heights and it has taken a toll on her and others involved on the front lines of this issue. There’s not a lot of good news to share–yet. But Spencer and the people she has attracted to the task force understand that if our community is going to make a positive impact it will require collaboration, communication, information sharing and a whole lot of resources and smart problem solving. They are making a difference.
We are pleased to announce that the Delray Beach Drug Task Force corporate partner, The Home Depot – Delray Beach, and the Home Depot Foundation has awarded a supply and labor grant to help update fixtures, repaint walls, redo gutters, repaint exterior, replace part of the vinyl floor, and add mulch for the landscape at The Crossroads Club.
Goldman says his goal is to take a long term view and stay ahead of the curve by planning pro-actively. He also said his department works closely with community groups such as the Drug Task Force and is always on the hunt for grants to offset budgetary strains. For example, the Task Force recently obtained a major grant for Narcan, a drug which reverses heroin overdoses. "We have a strong partnership," says Suzanne Spencer, who leads the Task Force. "We work very closely with the chief and the department."
I attended a drug task force meeting last week led by the impressive Suzanne Spencer. It was an extraordinary experience. In the room, were all the major front line players–treatment providers, business leaders, cops, firefighters, code enforcement personnel, hospital officials and legislative aides. Folks, we are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. People are dying and it’s not just kids it’s middle age people too. Opioid and heroin Abuse is rampant and scary. And it’s here in our community–and elsewhere too as evidenced by the presence of top-level officials from Boynton Beach and Pompano Beach.
For decades, the presence of the recovery community and sober homes has been a hot button issue in Delray which has been called a “recovery capital” by several media outlets. Legislative efforts to limit the proliferation of sober homes has been met with fierce resistance and legal threats but there is an ongoing effort to address the issue through legislation, code enforcement, permitting and a variety of task forces.
On Friday, December 4, 2015, Sierra Tucson presented the Vision Award to Suzanne Spencer, Executive Director of the Delray Beach Drug Task Force, at the Ritz Carlton in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
In February, the task force will take its efforts of bringing groups together and sharing information to the next level by hosting SUD Talks. The SUD or Substance Use Disorder – talks are an idea-sharing series of 5- to 45-minute presentations focused on building integrated community models and addressing issues facing communities and professionals dealing with the substance-abuse issues.
Wayside House’s Posner Career Center and the Drug Abuse Foundation (DAF) are collaborating with the Delray Beach Drug Task Force to form a Business Council of employers who will be educated on the benefits of being “recovery friendly.” Local employers are hiring people with substance use disorder, whether in recovery or not, even if they are not aware of it. Participation on the Business Council will be mutually beneficial to the employee and the employer.
While there are individuals and companies who do not follow ethical practices, we are proud to work with ethical providers. We are committed to support and advocate for the need of ethical providers in treatment and sober homes to help those who seek sobriety and long-term recovery. The Delray Beach Drug Task force facilitates inter-agency and inter-county efforts to collaborate, share resources, and educate the community about the needs and successes of the recovery community.