Letter to the Editor published in The Republican and Masslive.com
by 2018 GRP Candidate for Secretary of the Commonwealth, Juan G. Sanchez
I often wonder about my mother who suffered with drug addiction beginning in her early teens and whether she had the support she needed. I wonder if anyone ever reached out to her to make sure she was OK. I’ve wondered what kind of person she would’ve been had drugs not been a part of her life. Would she have been a good mom? A good friend? These are things I will never have an answer to as she left when I was 2 years old and passed when I was 10. She was 28.
Some things have a price such as homes, products, etc., and those are very important things to many people but what price do we put on a life? What do you tell a parent, a child, a loved one when the person they love passes from an overdose? The help wasn’t there when I was a child. Opioid abuse wasn't considered an epidemic in the 90s but today services are available, and we have a state government that is trying to strategically target drug addiction so that no other family needs to end up broken again.
I have heard neighbors argue that the new group home that the Mental Health Association (MHA) is planning on Yale Street in Holyoke is about safety, property taxes, and comfort but what’s safer and better for property taxes than helping someone become a productive member of their community? What’s more comforting than knowing that by being a good neighbor you are helping someone reunite with their loved ones and become healthy again? People argue that Holyoke is a nonprofit haven and should stop being ground zero for so many non-tax paying services yet offer no plan, just fear and judgment of the most vulnerable in our community.
I’m open to dialogue on growing the tax-base, but we can do that together and still welcome our new neighbors. I have full confidence that our new neighbors will cause no problem in Holyoke or the neighborhood they have chosen and look forward to welcoming them as members of our community.
Juan G. Sanchez, Holyoke