Methodists host free addiction forum on March 5

ALAMOSA—A forum on “Understanding Addiction” will be held from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 5, in the Alamosa First United Methodist Church (FUMC), located on the corner of Murphy and Mullins, Memorial Room. The event is free and open to the public.

Like much of Southern Colorado, Alamosa is seeing the impact of a heroin epidemic. This may already be affecting someone you love, and is most likely impacting someone you know. A few years ago stories began showing up in domestic relations court where devastated wives leaving the husband who inexplicably drove the family to financial ruin, selling off the family belongings, including lawn sprinklers and baby toys. A 12-year-old girl who defied every effort to get her into school was placed in detention as a last effort, then she began having horrible withdrawals.

“Last summer I watched a young man shoot up right in front of Safeway, and then stumble across the parking lot,” said Amanda Pearson, retired judge and FUMC member.

Alamosa is now seeing an increase in serious crime. Community leaders have already joined forces to battle the onslaught of this drugs wreckage. A methadone clinic has been opened, giving addicts a chance to rejoin families and society.

“District Judge Michael Gonzales instituted our valley’s first criminal drug court, encouraging treatment over punishment. However, it is clear that battling a rising tide is a difficult task,” Pearson added. “As Methodists we are called to lift ourselves out of the denial that so often surrounds drug abuse. This means awareness. Drug abuse can happen in our own homes; many prescription painkillers are opioids, just as heroin is an opioid.”

Addiction can happen quickly. As medical consumers, we need to know our options, and demand other alternatives to paid treatment. We need awareness of the presence and impact of addictive drugs in our community.

“As Methodists, we are also called to move the public discussion from punishment to treatment and prevention,” Pearson added. “These are our sons and daughters. Incarceration is expensive and ineffective. This is a call to action. As community members, we can have a voice in addressing this problem, we can help those already leading the charge.”

Where do we start? The Alamosa FUMC Church and Society Ministry Team organized the free community education and awareness forum on March 5 to begin to understand addiction and work towards solutions. Speakers will include medical providers, community educators, and impacted family members.