Ryan Holets, a New Mexico police officer, voiced his thanks to President Trump during the second night of the Republican National Convention for his declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency.
Holets shared a personal story about how opioids have affected his and his family’s life in a very unique way – he adopted the baby of a woman that he saved who was addicted to opioids.
“I encounter the ravages of addiction every day. But, nothing could prepare me for what I discovered as I approached them. The woman was very pregnant,” Holets explained. “In my shock, I asked her if she knew that she was harming her baby by doing drugs. She crumbled, and burst into tears.”
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He explained how as he talked to the woman named Crystal, she expressed how she wanted the best for her unborn child. And Holets described the understanding and empathy he felt for her.
“I saw her the way that all of you who know or love an addict see them, as fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends. Human beings full of value and dignity, but robbed of their potential by this disease,” Holets said Tuesday night.
He and his wife adopted Crystal’s baby when the time came and have maintained a relationship with her since.
Holets said they named the daughter they adopted Hope, who is now two-years old. Crystal has been clean for three years.
Nearly 64,000 people died from the opioid crisis the year that Trump took office in 2016.
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The White House declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in October 2017 and pledged $6 billion in aid to combat the crisis, spread out over a two year period.
Trump also instated a Safer Prescribing Plan that would cut the number opioid prescription refills by one-third within three years.
The Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) reported that between 2017-2018, the number of drug overdose deaths dropped by five percent. And the number of overdose deaths from opioids dropped by nearly three percent.
The number of Americans that reported pain reliever misuse also reportedly dropped by 11% in 2018.
Another $1.8 billion in funding was distributed in 2019 from the HHS to continue to combat drug abuse in the U.S.
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“Drug overdose deaths decreased in 2018 for the first time in 30 years,” Holets said. “Many of the states hardest hit by the opioid crisis are seeing the largest drop in deaths.”
“We’re seeing that doctors are writing fewer prescriptions for opioid pain drugs. These are significant improvements that have a meaningful impact,” he added.