Guest speakers updated members of the Democratic Women’s Club of Indian River County on two key issues for Floridians today: substance abuse and the midterm elections.
Speaking at the club’s recent monthly luncheon were Robin Dapp, executive director of the Substance Awareness Center of Indian River County, and Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party.
Dapp noted that 65,000 people in the United States died of overdoses last year. And the abuse crisis has come to Indian River County. “It’s beginning to happen here,” she said. For the first time in the center’s 30-year history there is a client waiting list.
The Substance Awareness Center is focused on two initiatives: prevention and recovery.
Most addicts start as teens, Dapp said. Consequently, the center provides a life skills training program to all Indian River County public middle schoolers. This evidence-based curriculum reduces risk factors and increases protective measures.
The center’s recovery programs also emphasize social and life skills through in-house and day outpatient treatment facilities. The center runs two group homes where clients in early recovery may stay.
Today’s addicts are polysubstance abusers, Dapp said, and will “use anything they can get their hands on.”
Looking toward the midterm elections, Democratic chair Rizzo noted that the party is focused on a 67-county strategy. “Every county matters,” she said. State Democrats are working with every Florida county to get better organized and to get out the vote. The party seeks to turn “warm voters,” those who are not as apt to vote in midterm elections, into “hot voters.”
As Florida is the largest swing state in the nation, winning here is vital to the United States, she said.
The Democratic emphasis in the elections is on the positive, rather than the negative, Rizzo said. The party’s spotlight is on issues that matter to everyone. Those include an economy that works for all, quality education, a healthy environment, and common sense gun laws.
“Every year we say this is the most important election of our lifetime,” Rizzo said. “Well, this year it really is.”
The next meeting of the Democratic Women’s Club of IRC will be held June 9.