Letter: No, we won't take this anymore

Editor of the Reformer:

I am not an addict, addicted to illegal substance but I am fast becoming an addict for grass-roots change.

A recent letter to the editor included a headline "Brattleboro is Dangerous" (Oct. 7) and while I am sympathetic to his comments, they are not being directed to the proper authority. The Brattleboro Police Department as well as the Brattleboro Select Board are able to carry out and enforce laws that are supported by Vermont legislation, and therein lies the rub.

Many of you know me as a champion for addiction education in our community. Many of you also know me as a daughter, a mother and grandmother. When recently one of my closest relatives was desperate enough to break into my home due to an opiate addiction and rob me of personal possessions, I was saddened yet not at all surprised by this violation of trust. What became evident to me and more importantly surprising was the manner in which the legal system treated this criminal activity. What comes to mind is "In and Out Burger," a fast food chain located in California.

After describing this incident to an officer from our local police department, I learned the following morning that my home was not the only target for theft by my loved one. While my charge is still pending, the other incident was far more damaging and an arrest was made pretty quickly as evidence was found with the individual whom I am writing about today. There was also an accomplice involved in the larger incident, both were taken into custody yet then released with an order to appear in court later in 2017.

Neither the local nor the state police are entitled to hold someone who has been accused of a crime until they have a fair hearing. Decisions are made on the bench dictated by the laws in our state.

I have not begun the journey to educate myself about Vermont legislation bill I am getting close because I am mad as hell.

Addiction and substance misuse is a headline in nearly every piece of printed material today. Addiction is a brain disease and people who are suffering need the help and support of us all. Despite best efforts, stigma remains and unless you have been personally affected by a loved one, friend or acquaintance, please take your head out of the sand and get educated.

As I have said before, the very fabric of our nation has been forever changed by this tragic epidemic and it isn't going to go away anytime soon unless people like you and me take a stand and say "No, we won't take this anymore."

This is why I am writing today, this is why I am not collapsing into sorrow over my loved one but standing up and saying "no more."

Sue Avery,

Brattleboro, Oct. 9


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