Whitmer is all talk, no action on opioids

Last spring, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer came to Eastpointe to announce her partnership with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg to combat the opioid crisis. She gave a great speech at the Eastpointe Fire Department.

And then I waited.

During the summer, I called the governor’s office and asked about the latest. They were rude, very unhelpful, and said they would get back with me.

I waited over a month and called back. This time the man on the phone was polite, but he said that he did not know anything about the funding, and that I would have to call the mayor's organization.

He made sure to tell me that the governor hoped to get an increase in the budget.

As a pastor, I have seen this before, and it is called thin air.

It is terrible that a sitting governor can come to a city that desperately needs help and fly away to Lansing and hope that no one remembers her empty promises and pledges that day.

With so many people impacted by the opioid crisis, we need programs and funding, but all I have seen from the governor is a nice smile in the spring and thin air since.

The governor is no different than most established politicians — she's all talk and no action. 

We are still waiting in Eastpointe, madame governor. 

Please do something.

The Rev. Mathew Vroman, Eastpointe

Mental health agencies should lead on Red Flag protocols

While working on my master’s degree in counseling I extensively reviewed research on homicide. Research conducted in the 1960s and 1970s strongly suggests that homicidal individuals frequently show clear signs of an impending crisis.

Among these were a disruption of normal sleeping patterns, substance abuse and homicidal threats as well as threatened suicide.

Research also suggested that socially isolated individuals who experienced additional social losses were more prone to homicidal outbursts. Often they sought help but were not taken seriously by the agencies they contacted.

One example is the case of Charles Whitman, who told a college counselor in the 1960s that he felt like going up in the college tower and shooting people.

He missed his next appointment and made no further appointments. A month later he killed 12 people from the college tower.

Most mentally ill people are not dangerous, but many individuals in an acute social and emotional crisis can be. 

Protocols can and must be developed to assist educators, law enforcement and judges in assessing individuals subjected to Red Flag laws.

Publicly funded mental heath agencies and universities should be taking the lead in this field, not law enforcement. 

They must actively partner with these agencies instead of hiding behind the mantra that “most mentally ill individuals are not dangerous.” 

Jim Ribby, Rapid City

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