Liberty University’s Dean of the School of Business and former US Representative appears on national television series, “Town Hall: Your Voice Your Future”
Dr. Dave Brat, Liberty University’s dean of the School of Business and former US representative, discussed the opioid epidemic during Political Commentator Eric Bolling’s “Town Hall: Your Voice Your Future” session at the University of Maryland, March 14, to a national television audience.
Thursday’s Town Hall was the 9th of 14 sessions to raise awareness of the national opioid crisis, which kills 200 Americans every day on average.
The national television series started at Liberty University Nov. 28 featuring a discussion panel with Jerry Falwell Jr. and First Lady of the United States Melania Trump.
“If you summed it into one sentence, it’s about saving lives,” Brat said following the panel discussion Thursday. “It was just very meaningful. I was proud to be on a stage getting to share that (the Liberty community) cares about people in this kind of way.”
During his political tenure serving Virginia’s 7th congressional district (2014-2019), Brat tackled the drug crisis through the local lens, empowering the community officials wherever possible.
“When I was in congress, I worked with 10 sheriffs, and they were the superheroes on this issue,” Brat said. “We need to help the people fighting on the front lines, and that’s the sheriffs.”
Brat was joined by Dr. Carlo DiClemente, who specializes in addiction and health behavior change, James Carrol Jr., the director of the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Steve Schuh, head of Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center.
Carrol addressed President Donald Trump’s proposed wall on America’s southern border, saying it would assist law enforcement with illegal aliens entering with drugs.
“If we have the wall where we know they cross, it means they will go to the ports of entry where we can (catch them),” Carrol said. “A wall will help.”
Carrol said the Trump administration is focused on strengthening the ports of entry with sufficient technologies, making admission much more difficult for drug smugglers.
“Addiction is such a powerful thing to try to overcome,” Sherriff Mike Lewis said on the panel. “It’s so hard for them to overcome, that they’re actually looking for the harder drug.”
Bolling, the event’s moderator, experienced tragedy in 2017 when he lost his son to fentanyl, a powerful opioid drug used on patients with extreme pain.
According to Nick Albaugh, the director of licensing and compliance at Amatus Health, many opioid addicts start with a simple drug like pot or marijuana before slowly developing desires for heavier substances. The marijuana community, according to Albaugh, breeds a dangerous environment for potential drug users.
“We’re all working together to save lives,” Brat said. “There’s a crisis of meaning going on. At Liberty, I think we understand that we look out into the world. If people are looking for a solution in fentanyl or a drug, it’s obvious they’re looking for meaning in the wrong place. So we at Liberty find meaning through God, and we want to share that with the world.”