The St. Pete Prevention, Education, Treatment (P.E.T.) Project Coalition met last week at the Lakewood United Methodist Church for the second time to do something about saving lives and families from drug addiction that has invaded our city—big time.
We changed the name of our community organization from the Drug and Alcohol Task Force to the aforementioned P.E.T. to project a positive message to our community. We will continue to address drugs, alcohol and tobacco, all of which cause death and the disintegration of families.
When I spoke to Mayor Rick Kriseman at the rededication of Jordan Park Apartments in April of this year about addressing the city’s drug and alcohol problem, we did not realize the depth of the addiction to opioids and the untold numbers of people dying.
All ages are affected, especially seniors who have to deal with pain medication on a daily basis. The problem is exacerbated when the pain medicine is not taken as prescribed and addiction sneaks up on you like a snake in the grass.
There is a legal prescription drug called fentanyl that is a highly addictive opioid. It is similar in makeup to heroin and morphine. Fentanyl is also produced illegally in labs that are very unsafe and unregulated. Another drug that is being illegally produced and is 10,000 times as powerful as morphine is carfentanyl.
Both of these drugs are being easily purchased on the street by young and old alike and are killing people in mass numbers because they are unregulated.
Since Mayor Kriseman gave me the go ahead in June to develop a means to address the drug problem in St. Pete, God has put people in my path to help and become a part of the St. Pete P.E.T. Project Coalition.
We have the assistance of the police and health departments, 12 Step members, the mayor, Congressman Crist’s office, youth, parents, the School Board, Operation Par, Westcare, National Alliance on Mental Illness, the faith-based community and others.
How can you help to save lives and families from this? Faith-based organizations are of extreme importance. Addiction is a spiritual problem requiring a spiritual solution, so pray for our residents who are caught up in addiction.
If you are a member of a church, mosque, temple, synagogue or any place of worship, talk to your faith leader about opening up your facility to a 12 Step meeting for the betterment of your community. You can call the Narcotics Anonymous Helpline at 888-779-7117 or go to www.bascna.org or the Alcoholics Anonymous website at AA.org to get information on starting a 12 Step meeting at your place of worship.
It was suggested last week that we could have a great impact if all 137 churches on the south side of town would open their doors to have a 12 Step meeting to confront addiction. Pastors consider this, please.
Parents, start at home by searching your child’s room for contraband under the mattress, in the closet, under the bed or in drawers. A person close to me had the unfortunate experience of being at home when the police raided his house and found all sorts of drug paraphernalia in his son’s room. His son went to jail and the family could have lost their house or also ended up incarcerated.
If you are supporting anyone in your house and have any thoughts that they are using or selling drugs, your life and belongings are at risk.
Pray for our P.E.T. Project Alliance as we address prevention, education and treatment in our city. There are 14 people dying daily in Florida from an overdose of opioids. We can do something to save a life and a family that just may be our own.
Having been a pastor for 40 years and in recovery for 28 years, I also do spiritual counseling for families and speak to organizations on solutions to addiction.
For more information, write me at Hope Alive Outreach, P.O. Box 35427, St. Pete., FL 33712, Google my new book entitled “The Pipe and the Pulpit,” email me at ProphetBasha@aol.com or call 443-250-9635.
We have an addiction radio broadcast on WBPU 96.3 FM on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. This broadcast brings a message of Hope to those suffering from the disease of addiction, primarily drugs and alcohol.
And remember, no matter what you’re going through today, there is hope for you. Have a great day.
Dr. Basha P. Jordan, Jr.,
Chair, St. Pete P.E.T. Project Alliance