“Defeating drug addiction in this country is possible ... education is prevention, and we should use our voices to raise awareness and stop this epidemic that is crippling our communities, our state, and our nation.”

Columba Bush
Las Vegas Review-Journal
August 24, 2015

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I recently had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Miriam Adelson during a visit to the clinic she founded with her husband in Las Vegas in 2000. The staff at the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment & Research is committed to treating those who suffer from opioid and prescription drug addiction. I was impressed with Dr. Adelson's understanding of the complexities of substance abuse, as well as her passion to address this deadly epidemic sweeping across Nevada and the rest of our nation.

When I toured domestic violence shelters in Maine and New Hampshire, advocates repeatedly discussed their concerns regarding the increasing misuse of heroin and prescription drugs in their states. During my tour of Dr. Adelson's facility, I was surprised to learn that Nevada has experienced an 80 percent increase in overdose fatalities since 1999, with opioid addiction playing a critical role in these deaths.

As first lady of Florida, I worked side-by-side with my husband, Gov. Jeb Bush, to fight drug abuse. When he assumed office in 1998, he was committed to raising awareness of the impact of substance abuse on our state, while simultaneously increasing resources for substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation facilities. In that effort, he established the Office of Drug Control, tasked with creating and implementing a comprehensive education and policy approach to combatting substance abuse in Florida.

Defeating drug addiction in this country is possible, but not without strong leadership and strong advocates such as Dr. Adelson and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. I was also extremely pleased to learn about Nevada first lady Kathleen Sandoval's efforts to combat prescription drug use among youth. Nevada is fortunate to have these high-profile leaders working tirelessly to reduce opioid addiction.

Today I ask each of you to follow the leadership of Dr. Adelson, Gov. Sandoval and Kathleen Sandoval by taking a step to prevent substance abuse in your great state. Take time to talk with your children about the horrible effects of using drugs and the impact it would have on their future. Get involved with local efforts to raise awareness about the impact of heroin and prescription drug abuse on our families. I believe that education is prevention, and we should use our voices to raise awareness and stop this epidemic that is crippling our communities, our state, and our nation.