It has been a flood of epic proportions.
That is the only way I can describe what has happened in my inbox in the few short days since we released an op-ed on YWN discussing the devastating number of overdoses and deaths that have befallen us and asking people to join Amudim in the fight against abuse and addiction.
Within 72 hours I personally received more than 700 positive emails from people asking how they could help Amudim, with another 200 supportive messages coming in on WhatsApp and social media. Among those who responded were several individuals who have lost loved ones to addiction and had previously been afraid to speak up. There were also requests from countries including South Africa, Australia, England, Mexico and Israel, as well as all from across the United States, begging us to bring programming to their communities as we have done in numerous cities over the last several years.
הוֹדוּ לַיהוָה כִּי טוֹב, after five years, it seems that we as a community have finally turned a corner. I intend to respond personally to every email and message as soon as humanly possible although it may take me some time to do so – right now our highest priority is to sort through all of the ideas and offers of support that have come in so that we can identify the most effective ways to bring about even more positive change. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we will be spending the next few weeks determining what additional projects we can put into play so that we can partner together in a united mission to make this world a better, healthier and safer place.
Our founder Mendy Klein z’l often said that while we don’t have all the answers, stepping back and asking questions can provide a greater understanding of our challenges, allowing us to formulate better solutions. That approach has allowed Amudim to launch several initiatives that are already underway and can be further advanced with communal support and participation. If you have any additional suggestions or ideas, please email them to me directly at [email protected] so that we can explore additional projects that will allow us to change lives and build futures.
Prevention: It goes without saying that stopping problems before they even start would go a long way towards ending this seemingly endless game of Whac-A-Mole that we currently find ourselves playing. First and foremost, we need to break the stigma associated with addiction so that the topic can freely be discussed. Once those taboos have been eliminated, our schools need to join us and educate our kids to these dangers at the evidence based appropriate ages so that when temptations arise our children will be properly equipped to deal with it.
It’s alarming to note that we are seeing kids starting to drink alcohol at 12 and 13 years old and experimenting with drugs at 14 and 15, while most schools are still burying their collective heads in the sand and insisting that they are drug and alcohol free. We must work together with our schools, camps, parents and community to offer more in education and proper management when it comes to dealing with these realities.