Save the Date: April 18th
Opioid and Substance Abuse Symposium
I am glad The Hobby School of Public Affairs and Baylor College of Medicine followed my suggestion in holding this important symposium. Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz will be speaking, who leads the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at the Department of Health and Human Services. The symposium will take place on Wednesday, April 18th at the Baylor College of Medicine in the Texas Medical Center.
America’s Opioid Crisis
Opioid and substance abuse in America has increased at an alarming rate, and it will spread to Texas if we do not act. Speaker Joe Straus and the Texas House have reacted by creating the House Select Committee on Opioid and Substance Abuse. I am looking forward to serving on the House Select Committee on Opioid and Substance Abuse, chaired by Representative Four Price (R-Amarillo), beginning next week. Thank you to Speaker Joe Straus (R – San Antonio) for appointing me to this important committee.
Substance abuse is a major concern because of how it affects our children. I found through my County Affairs hearings last interim that 2/3rds of CPS child removals were due to substance abuse. Additionally, drugs or alcohol factor into half of the child abuse and neglect deaths in Texas. In 2012 alone, more than 20,000 infants were born with signs of withdrawal in the U.S.
That is why last session I amended two riders onto the budget to help combat the opioid crisis. The first rider made guardians suffering from substance abuse in the CPS system a priority population under Medicaid. The second rider authorized Department of Family Protective Services to seek federal funds to address substance abuse in guardians of children in the CPS system. The federal funds includes the 21st Century Cures Act by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and signed by President Obama, as well as the Family First Emergency Services Act – click here for more info from this Houston Chronicle editorial.
Next session, I plan once again to push for Family Drug Courts to help combat the negative impact substance abuse has on our Child Protective Services (CPS) system. Family Drug Courts are effective because they work with both the person suffering from substance abuse and their family. Through this approach, Family Drug Courts have been able to keep children in the care of their parents while the parents are able to get on the road to recovery and learn the skills necessary to be better parents. Unfortunately only 10 counties in Texas have these courts because County budgets are lacking necessary funding for these courts all over Texas, considering the State is not an equal partner financially. That is why I will continue to fight for State funding of Family Drug Courts.
Opioid abuse has had a disproportionate impact on women. Opioid deaths of women have increased by more than 568 percent compared to 380 percent for men since 1999. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women between the ages of 25 and 54 are more likely than other age groups to go to the emergency department from prescription painkiller abuse.
Opioid and substance abuse also affects the economy. This recently published Brookings Institute study shows that the increase in opioid prescriptions from 1999 to 2015 could account for about a 20 percent decline in men’s labor force participation and a 25% decline in women’s labor force participation during that same period. The author found that, “Over the last 15 years, labor force participation fell more in counties where more opioids were prescribed.”
Today, Friday, March 23rd, the omnibus spending bill signed by the President today allocates more than $4.65 billion to fight the opioid crisis through prevention, treatment, and law enforcement.
I will continue to keep you updated on upcoming hearings, how to watch them, and our findings.
Representative Garnet Coleman Welcomes Democratic Senate District Delegates
Senate District 13 Convention
Wheatley High School
4801 Providence St.
Houston, Texas 77020
Saturday, March 24th
Senate District 15 Convention
IBEW Union Hall
Local 716, 1475 N. Loop W.
Houston, TX 77008
Saturday, March 24th
Senate District 6 Convention
Houston Community College – Southeast Campus
6815 Rustic St.
Houston, TX 77087
Saturday, March 24th, 9am-12:30pm
Thank you to all Harris County Democratic Party Precinct Chairs, Delegates, and Volunteers who help make these conventions a success.
Information on Southmore Blvd Bridge Construction
Neighborhood Fantasies Exhibit at Project Row Houses Open Until April 22nd
Neighborhood Fantasies, presented by Project Row HousesWHERE:
2521 Holman Street
Houston, TX 77004
EXHIBIT VIEWING HOURS:
Wed – Sun | Noon to 5pm
*The Neighborhood Fantasies exhibit runs through April 22nd*
Below is an explanation of the exhibit from Project Row Houses.
Curated by Kathleen Coleman in conjunction with Fotofest 2018.“Neighborhood Fantasies integrates the spirit of an emerging art photographer Evan Coleman with the work of PRH founding artist Jesse Lott. This exhibition is curated by Kathleen Coleman.
The Houston urban landscape is an eclectic image of symbolic eras in time. The photographer Evan Coleman has captured the images of homes, office buildings, flora, fauna, roads, and houses; front yards where a person rides in a car or walks down a major street and a back road, familiar depictions portrayed in photo montages such as: a trailer, hamburger joints, resale businesses or party events are included. There are familiar images in the collages–a water hose, a variety of mangos, giant watermelons floating across the sky to create everyday dreams as we ride along. Let us not forget the porcelain cats resting in the window of a house, in a day dream; a central, focal image throughout the exhibition. The fantasy photo of a windowsill of cats is inviting Jesse Lott, who inserted a dog to peer at them through the window.
Jesse Lott has made blind cuts, and separated them by color, thus creating the opportunity to assemble a puzzle which has never been solved. This concept in brief can be thought of as documentation of the reality reconstructed as a fantasy supplemented with the original subject matter. Recontextualization places the images into a new perspective, meaning changes within the point of view of the artist applied, which inspires the public to visualize and imagine the symbols or the object commonly viewed in our daily lives. In the collages, a bounce house is cut up and fruit from a stand is placed to add color with common objects to form depth and structure such as concrete.
The countless forms of architecture from one neighborhood to another incorporate Houston’s diversity at its finest, in addition to revealing gentrification from one street to another. Repetitive objects are common features in the artwork in Neighborhood Fantasies therefore a perception is a sense of belonging in the heart of the city through art and collective experiences. The concept is evolving to produce involvement within the community to enlighten themselves within their own area. The artist team will continue to conceive fantasy from random reality.
Thank you to our sponsors Melanie Lawson, John Guess, A Rocket Moving and Storage, Womack Development, and Mayberry Homes.”
LAST CHANCE to view Sandra Bland exhibit at Houston Museum of African-American Culture
The Houston Museum of African-American Culture is celebrating the life of Ms. Sandra Bland with an interactive exhibit, running until Wednesday, March 28. The museum is CLOSED Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
See below for hours and details. Click here for more information.
Houston Museum of African-American Culture
4807 Caroline Houston, Texas 77004
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: Closed
Friday, Saturday: 11am-6pm
General Admission to the museum is free, however donations are accepted.