Hope, Healing, and Action: Uniting Against Opioid Epidemic in East African Community

For more than two hours on a recent summer night, the gym in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood became a haven of hope and healing. More than 200 people had gathered to take the first step toward a systematic response to the opioid and substance use scourge that has overwhelmed the East African community.

The listening session, sponsored by the Niyyah Recovery Initiative and the Minnesota Office of Addiction and Recovery, was a chance for people on the front lines of this battle to share their stories with the public officials who control the money and resources that will be used to wage it.

“This is not the end of the conversation,” said Jeremy Drucker, the state’s director of addiction and recovery. He, along with key legislators and state and county representatives, pledged that treatment and recovery programs will be receiving more than lip service support.

The money will be there, thanks to funds appropriated during this year’s legislative session and the multi-million-dollar settlement reached against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

“The money’s going to be used to break this chain,” said Attorney General Keith Ellison. “We will take control of this demon.”

The evening was a good first step. Results will be the next. Stay tuned.