Hear this VOICE

I applaud McLennan County commissioners for recognizing the opioid crisis is a public health concern that costs our community lives and money. As director of VOICE, a nonprofit that provides substance-abuse prevention education, I know we all must work to address the issue through a variety of innovative solutions.

At VOICE, we focus on prevention through a number of proven programs that teach children, youth and families how to lead healthy, productive lives free from substance abuse. These programs, held at school campuses and community sites in McLennan and surrounding counties, are funded through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Providing money for prevention is a wise move because for every dollar spent on school-based prevention programming, $18 are saved in areas such as treatment, medical care, legal expenses and lost productivity. Unfortunately, Texas ranks among the lowest five states for substance-abuse disorder spending per capita. Recently, however, the Texas HHSC was awarded additional funding to provide treatment and prevention services targeted at decreasing the devastating effects of opioid misuse. VOICE is thankful to be the recipient of $44,000 from Texas Targeted Opioid Response for use in Central Texas.

This allows us to increase activities that educate individuals on the harmful effects of opioids. It also helps fund projects of VASA (Voices Against Substance Abuse), a community coalition overseen by VOICE that addresses the misuse of prescription drugs and other substances. The coalition is composed of parents, students, businesses and nonprofit organizations and is open to all who are interested in reducing substance abuse in McLennan County. I encourage readers to visit voiceinc.org to learn more about substance abuse prevention efforts in our community and how to become a member of VASA.

Lynda Sloan, Waco

Praise for Witherspoon

I have greatly appreciated Tribune-Herald staff writer Tommy Witherspoon’s reporting on the Jake Carrizal case. I work for an attorney who defended Fort Worth Bandidos president Howard Baker a few months ago here in Fort Worth and I was able to attend every day of the trial. I have been keeping up with Twin Peaks since it happened and wanted to be able to attend the trials when they started, but we are so busy here. I was able to get to Waco only one day a few weeks ago. But thanks to Tommy and his moment-by-moment tweets I felt like I was there daily. He is one heck of a reporter, simply outstanding. But I know he has heard this before.

I was raised in Waco in the Bell’s Hill area and always love visiting home. Thanks again for his reporting so that a citizen can “attend” the trial blow by blow.

Clara Wallace Holmes, RN Ret., Fort Worth