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December 5, 2023

Letters to the Editor, Sept. 9

Naloxone can save lives

A billboard will be unveiled in Watsonville presenting how Naloxone can easily save and reverse an opioid overdose. 

True convenience arrives as soon as anyone views the value and significance of this tool. It has the power to save a life. Why is it so covered up? Why is it non-existent? Is the sharp increase in overdose deaths/poisonings due to fentanyl not enough? 

There are many organizations on the ground that are implementing solutions such as SafeRx and PVPSA (Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance) which take the lead on providing mental health services and youth prevention groups. 

Empower Watsonville is a youth-led leadership program that focuses on amplifying youth voices and creating a purposeful impact on mental health, substance use and youth empowerment in our community under PVPSA. We work with adult allies to implement more equitable policies that will support the reduction of youth substance use. 

While we may choose to ignore the issue of opioids surrounding our country, it is apparent that the issue needs to be resolved faster than ever in both education and medicine. The lack of awareness of current naloxone distribution and other community efforts around overdose call for more transparency with the public. 

Schools should have Narcan available for all in case of any emergency. Many people are not aware that anyone 12 years and older in California can carry Narcan, like pepper spray, and save a life if needed. We have first-aid kits; why can’t that be included in it? Just because it’s for substances, many schools reject it. 

As a youth I am worried about my generation and this opioid crisis. We must begin to fight the internalized stigma and be open enough to have these conversations. 

Omar Álvarez-Álvarez

Secretary of Empower Watsonville

Hospital management needs to acquire staff’s trust

I attended the Sept. 1 meeting of the Pajaro Valley Health Care District Board of Directors at the Community Room of Watsonville City Hall. I was very interested in being at a board meeting in a public venue.

The meeting was primarily an opportunity for the board and members of the community to congratulate everyone for all that every person, company, organization and the State of California had accomplished in order to succeed at acquiring all the finances needed to purchase the hospital.

I was never in doubt that the hospital would be able to survive and would be saved by the community and the state.

But, I also expressed my concern for the management of the hospital, since from the very first meeting I have made my point about the need to acquire the “loyalty and trust” of the staff of the hospital. I noted that in order to do so, the leaders of each professional group need to be in attendance at all meetings of the board.

There is no room for less than total and complete transparency. Staff should be aware of the “why” and “how” specific decisions are being analyzed and implemented. Closed meetings of the board allow them to insulate themselves from staff and public criticism. 

There currently is no trust in management. Attendees should be allowed to attend and listen, but not allowed to be a part of the discussions. In this way, the leaders can report back to each respective professional group and then return to offer their positive and negative criticisms. 

There will be differences of opinion, but everyone would be in the same boat, and not on the outside looking in.

As an example of my opinion of “total and complete transparency,” recently a Pajaronian article described the students of Watsonville High School who were presented with a new dress code, without any input from the students. It caused nothing but anger and dismay from the students.

The hospital board and the school board must give the staff and the students some credit for being able to understand what the goals are which they want to achieve. 

Trust those on the line, those being directly affected to know what needs to be done and why. 

Then, and only then, will you be able to gain the trust and loyalty of the staff and students. 

Fred L. Castillo

Watsonville, 50-plus-year employee of Watsonville Community Hospital


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