First step: Admitting we have a problem

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President Trump on Thursday made a passionate and comprehensive argument why opioid addiction has reached the stage of a nationwide public health emergency, and he set out several steps that may help alleviate that emergency, which kills almost 100 Americans a day.

Let’s be honest. This is not just a national emergency; it is a local emergency — in Flathead County and in small towns and cities throughout Montana. It devastates individual lives, families and communities.

Of course, the underlying reasons why addiction is such an attractive trap for so many millions of people in our modern society are complex, and no president can mandate the lifestyle, moral and philosophical changes that would diminish addiction’s appeal. But taking action is imperative, and with any luck, Trump’s use of the bully pulpit will move the nation in the right direction.

The president’s declaration will allow the government to redirect resources, including toward expanded access to medical services in rural areas, but there is no money attached to the move, and if the government is serious about following through, then money will have to be found.

Hopefully, this crisis will not be used as one more political football to score points at the expense of those whose lives are at risk. If Democrats and Republicans can rally around at least one issue, we hope it is this one.

Take advantage of Take-Back Day

Officers at police stations across the valley on Saturday will be on hand to help people dispose of unused prescription pills and patches — no questions asked — as part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Last April, more than 4,300 pounds of prescription drugs were safely disposed during this worthwhile event.

As Montana Attorney General Tim Fox noted, home medicine cabinets are ripe for fostering abuse and misuse. In fact, a nationwide study found that 6.4 million Americans had abused prescription drugs, and that a majority of those medications were obtained from family or friends.

Please, take time this weekend to clear your home of these substances in a safe and environmentally friendly way.

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