Jan Lepore-Jentleson is the executive director of Dayton’s East End Community Center, which works to address and resolve issues of poverty by working with families and children in a variety of innovative programs. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Opinion: Dayton needs to combat drug use stigma, loneliness 

Jan Lepore-Jentleson: Combatting stigma and loneliness

In a recovered community, people would have hope for the future, and a purpose. There would not be any stigma attached to the disease of addiction or for having been treated for it. And the community would be caring. There would be real job training in areas where we need the trained workforce, and employers willing to hire people with substance-abuse backgrounds and be willing to pay a decent, livable wage. It’s a big deal when people believe they can be a participating member of the community.

In a recovered community, the community provides decent affordable housing that supports long-term recovery and generally meets the needs of families.

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In a recovered community, the community provides adequate opportunities for people to gather and build human relationships with each other again. We know loneliness is a growing health risk. We have a lot of research now about loneliness, I think it’s partially to blame for a lot of the crisis we’re seeing in addiction, violence and mental illness. We need to learn and practice healthy behaviors, and relieve stress.

This drug addiction and mental health thing are all part of what is wrong with our society, and how we have left too many people behind. And we can’t forget the kids. We have got to support our kids, and help them gain academic and emotional health and develop resilience to deal with the stresses they will encounter as adults.

Lepore-Jentleson is executive director of East End Community Services, a non-profit neighborhood center that works with families in east Dayton.