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Zoraida colon

"Education, prevention and treatment of substance abuse."

Lakeland, FL, USA
female, age 64
married, 2 children
Speaks: English, Spanish, French
Activities: Music, composing, performing

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Substance abuse is often described as a "victimless" crime.  Those who have suffered from it as addicts, their families, friends and neighbors, know this is a lie.  The toll on society as a whole in lost wages, lost jobs, broken families, abuse related diseases, child abuse and abandonment is astronomical.  One of every ten Americans will be directly affected by a drunk/drugged driver every year, many will lose their lives or those of loved ones as a result.  Jails are overcrowded and expensive to maintain.  People fear going on vacation or leaving their cars unattended due to break-ins and robberies commited to support drug habits.  Children are abused, abandoned and used as drug dealers in schools by substance influenced parents.  Does this sound like a "victimless" crime?  Every day there are less and less treatment facilities as one after the other fall victim to a failing ecomony and government cuts.  There are eight animal shelters for every substance abuse treatment center and that distance is growing.  The fastest growing addicted population is the elderly, who knowingly or unwittingly get hooked on prescription pain killers and other drugs.  Jails, Detox and treatment centers are having to install wheel chair ramps, shower bars and other improvements to meet a growing, aging population.  We are seeing children as young as 12 already addicted and displaying destructive behavior.  The "War On Drugs", stiffer sentencing and added jails have not even begun to stop this nightmare.  Education, prevention and treatment are the only way to face and beat this monster, and it takes money, and lots of it, to get this done.  But even so, the cost of treatment is eight times less than the cost of doing nothing for every taxpayer.

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