'Action time.' Parent of child who overdosed urges more must be done to prevent use of synthetic drugs
A new 70-page report from the White House says there have 100,000 overdose deaths in a year.
Two-thirds of those recent deaths involved synthetic drugs like fentanyl.
Linda Ventura's son, Thomas, died of a heroin overdose nearly 10 years ago.
"Thomas was a charismatic, athletic, smart, smart, kind of quick witted," Ventura says. "He was awesome."
She says that it's "action time" for something to be done about the drug issue.
Ventura says it's time to do things differently, and there are way too many barriers to treatment and to detox.
Executive director of Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Steven Chassman says it's an opportunity to restructure how we treat substance abuse disorders as a chronic illness.
"Human toll is the most devastating, but when you're looking at $1 trillion in economic devastation," Chassman says. "All the signs for change are there."
The report recommends government action is a multi-faceted approach.
Chassman's biggest takeaway is access to treatment.
"Ongoing recovery services for people so they can live in sustained recovery, not just for recovering their physical and mental health, but their financial health," Chassman says.
He says law enforcement also plays a big role in the crisis, adding that it's a brain disease and a moral failing.
Ventura started Thomas' Hope in honor of her son to promote drug addiction awareness and prevention.
The LICADD is available 24 hours a day and anyone who suffers from or knows someone who suffers from substance abuse is asked to reach out.