Saturday, 25 May 2024

Jarrett: Community leaders should support Any Positive Change

Wow! Hats off to Linda Hatfield for the amazing letter she wrote which appeared in both the Record Bee and LakeCoNews regarding Any Positive Change. This letter should be required reading for all supervisors and city councils. While city and county government officials are excited and anxious to spend thousands of dollars to hire marketing firms to “rebrand Lake County” to enhance tourism and build the local economy, they must do more than just put lipstick on the pig. Lake County has ranked high on the list of drug use, drug overdose and drug deaths for years.

If we want to change the way the outside world looks at us, perhaps we need to take a better look at ourselves. Any Positive Change has been working for years to do exactly what the name says: make a positive change in the lives of users and therefore impact our community in a positive way. The program has followed guidelines from the US government and the California Department of Public Health. Yet our own Lake County Public Health Department and city and county governments have been, shall we say, less than enthusiastically helpful. Why is Any Positive Change not allowed to set up a needle exchange in the city of Clearlake for example?

Contrary to popular myth, drug use is not a south county issue. There are users and addicts in every part of the county and it will take a countywide effort to make any impact. But until we quit denying the problem, skirting the issue or making it a power play we will get nowhere.

I have known Annina van Voorene for well over 20 years. We used to make home visits together when she was a social worker for Healthy Start and I was the reading program director at Pomo. I will tell you this about her: she is a warrior. She will fight for what she knows is right. And if you really think about it, I hope you will come to agree with her.

Carolynn Jarrett lives in Clearlake, California.

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