CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson brought concerns about opioid abuse and drug treatment to a stop in Cedar Rapids on Thursday.
Secretary Carson participated in a panel discussion with Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart and treatment providers at the Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) offices.
Carson told the group the U.S. will continue to have a problem until access to treatment becomes as easy as access to drugs.
And Carson says secure housing is an important part of treating addiction.
“You’ve got to get people off the street and they’ve got to have a safe place to live. You can’t put a lot of conditions on that,” the HUD Secretary said.
Jeff Johnston, who lost a son to an overdose two years ago, participated in the panel discussion. He says the appearance by a top federal official to talk about the issue will only help.
”We want to do what we can to get people to make better decisions about substance abuse and him (Carson) being here today, his presence, will raise awareness which is what we are trying to do,” he said.
In addition to a panel discussion, Carson also toured the ASAC Heart of Iowa facility in Cedar Rapids. That’s a program for young mothers fighting addition, and their children, that provides both treatment and secure housing.