Having Paul Cherashore speak to our class on Tuesday was rather refreshing, as he brought up a point we hadn’t discussed before as a class, and one I hadn’t thought of much myself: allowing active drug users to weigh in on the crisis that is opioid epidemic and what we should be doing to combat it. It’s a rather simple concept, yet something that doesn’t seem to cross people’s minds very often. Cherashore made a valid point: why allow laws and policies to be implemented for people with addiction, without talking to people who will be affected by these programs?
This is especially relevant to Philadelphia right now, as we’re the first American city to attempt to implement a CUES. Our mayor, Jim Kenney, has even started a task force to fight the opioid epidemic at the forefront, but who is talking to the people with addiction or active drug users? Community forums have begun to take place, but the people who should be giving opinions aren’t there. The opinions of those effected aren’t there. As a class, I feel we can really draw from what Cherashore said and channel it into our own community engagement as we continue to table in neighborhoods around the city this semester. We should actively try to get the opinions and input of those with addiction and active drug users, as I believe this is the key to how the media can begin to repair its relationship with the public while also helping to shift the conversation about what new policies are introduced that help those with addiction.