On August 20, about 75 people from all walks of Williamson County convened at Prete Plaza in Round Rock to hear speakers’ messages of need, awareness and hope for drug and alcohol addiction in our community. Members of the EMS community, clergy, elected, and health care sectors joined to listen to former addicts, family members and subject matter experts.
The event was sponsored by LifeSteps Council on Alcohol and Drugs, which focuses on education, substance abuse prevention, assessments and counseling related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, youth truancy abatement and court diversion, parenting services and school-based programs for students, as well as family services for families involved in high conflict divorce. LifeSteps helps thousands of people in Williamson County via the courts, Sheriff’s office TX-ABC, DEA, schools, health and mental health clinics.
Congressman John Carter was a keynote speaker, having just helped pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016. He addressed the changing landscape of drug addiction and the new fight against prescription opioid addiction and abuse. As a long-time resident he reflected that “If we had every life touched by addiction, just in Williamson County, this plaza would be standing room only. Drug addiction, sadly, is not just about a shady character in a back alley selling drugs and it is no longer exclusive to the criminal element. It starts, for many, with the pill bottle that is legally in the home.” He also talked about the difficulties placed on the recovery system by prescription drugs because people who become addicted have a difficult time feeling as though they’ve done something wrong.
In 2015, overdoses from heroin and pain killers surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of incident-related death in the U.S.
LifeSteps Board Member Dr. Jim Jackson lost two family members to drug addiction and said “I don’t want this to happen to any more families. Let’s continue this fight. It is a just cause and don’t forget it because people’s lives are at stake.”
The ceremony concluded with all the participants clasping hands and praying for recovery and support as well as a balloon release.