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Voices for Recovery

Sharon Blair (09/16/2009)

Sharon Blair Voice

My name is Sharon Blair. I am an advocate for drug treatment for those addicted to drugs and alcohol. My daughter, Jennifer, struggled with a drug addiction for many years and was in and out of drug treatment. Many times, people struggling with addictions have relapses along their road to recovery.

My daughter, Jennifer died this year, Jan.15, 2009 at age 29. I walked beside her road of addiction, relapses and recovery. I know the struggle of the addicted. I have watched it and cried many tears, as I watched my daughter's painful struggle to live. I fought the battle on the front lines, for her to receive proper drug treatment.

To intervene and help Jennifer, I have weaved in and out of the court system, rehab centers, drug treatment facilities, talked to Judges, Lawyers, Sheriff's, Addiction Professionals, Drug treatment specialists,Drug Counselors, and learned about Methadone, Siboxin, Sebutex and many other pharmasutical "treatment philosophies". Having said all of this, the "treatment" that worked for my daughter, Jennifer, was faith based residential treatment. There she receieved a holistic approach to healing the whole person, spiritually, emotionally and physically, all without medications. This is why I am an advocate for treatment and recovery. I know it is attainable and it works.

I have met many addicts along my daughter's path in this life, and many are sober and clean today, who were blessed to take and receive drug treatment. Unfortunately many have also died.

Most people have a family member or know someone that has been severely altered due to drugs and alcohol. My daughter, Jennifer, died January 15, 2009 at the age of 29. She fought drug addiction for 15 years and in the end couldn’t beat it. Most people can’t beat it by their own willpower.  I am introducing The Jennifer Act amended law to the state of Florida for 2010. This law is a way for the family or loved one to intervene when they have a loved one addicted. The current law Floridians have in place is The Marchman Act, which does little more than keep the addicted person for 72 hours to do a drug assessment and then they are released back out on the streets. As we all know, 72 hours cannot free someone from the bonds of addiction. Also it can cost up to $300.00 to file a Marchman Act on someone, depending on the county. Many people cannot afford to pay this fee. That is one reason, I have proposed real changes to The Marchman Act and retitled it The Jennifer Act for 2010.

I have revised it and critiqued it based on what I have seen first hand with my daughter. These are changes that might give someone a chance – a chance at life – a chance to mend broken bonds with their family – a chance to finally beat their addiction. Addiction is so overwhelming, it cannot be beaten without serious intervention. Help someone save someone. I am working with Senators and Representatives to bring this proposition in front of theFlorida legislature for 2010. The drug addicted has 2 possible paths: jail or the cemetery. Lets pass a law that can give them another option.

Thank you,

Sharon Blair


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