Project Bald Eagle disbands; Its value about to be revealed

In December, Project Bald Eagle, the local coalition combatting the opioid epidemic, announced plans to regionalize the effort.

Last week, Project Bald Eagle announced plans to disband the effort.

It turns out, partners to the projected regionalization decided they wanted to keep their efforts localized.

Without a regional concept to sell, the funding that would have been available became unavailable.

And without money, the organization is unable to continue.

That’s not good news in the hopes of defeating the scourge of opioid addiction. We need a comprehensive, unified effort that is regionwide to battle this problem. Now we are left with local efforts with limited resources.

Hopefully, strides made since Project Bald Eagle was established in 2014 have grown the kind of roots that can be sustained without an organization behind them.

There is some evidence that is possible. Local police departments and health care providers now carry Nalaxone to arrest the impact of drug overdoses. Education programs in the community on the dangers of opioids and habits leading to addiction are well established.

Moreover, in recent years there have been state and federal declarations of the opioid crisis as an emergency, triggering work at both levels of government against the epidemic. Rehabilitation facilities have access to state and federal funding that was not available four years ago.

Hopefully, knowledge of just how big the problem is will lead to expanded resources to help those effected by heroin and opioids to find jobs and housing and continue to raise awareness that the epidemic effects all age groups and nationalities.

Of course, beating addiction comes down to an individual willing to fight to change addictive tendencies. But if they could achieve that alone, they would have beaten the addiction in most cases.

We are about to find out how strong the treatment network is in our region and whether individuals and families have taken the experiences of the past decade and established real practices in their lives to fight the scourge of opioid addiction.