The Times West Virginian

Opinion

May 14, 2014

There’s no easy solution when it comes to ‘big drug problem’ in county

There was a story headlined “Big Drug Problem” on Page 1 last Friday that we hope everyone who receives the Times West Virginian read.

There weren’t really new facts in the story, and the facts that were there were given in no uncertain terms. There was no glossing over reports that improvements are being made and things like that. It was just the cold, hard facts.

Debbie Mann, who coordinated the Marion County Substance Abuse Coalition’s annual summit, said “we want to make sure we all understand the big picture, not just our little part of it. There is a big drug problem in Marion County and we’re talking about what we are doing about it and what we need to do in the future.”

Circuit court Judge Michael Aloi said that in the Marion County court system, he sees families impacted by substance abuse daily — not just monthly or semi-monthly, but daily.

One might think that on many occasions, parents could intervene when these substance abuse cases arise, but that’s just not possible sometimes: “We’re now having a significant amount of our cases, dealing with abuse and neglect, that involve parents that can’t be parents because of their addiction.”

Think about that for a moment — parents who can’t be parents because of their addiction. Many children are removed from their families and sent to foster homes because of these addictions. And it’s a problem that is growing worse each year.

Aloi sees many people without good, strong families in his dealing with the drug “underworld.” And he worries, as he should, about the many people with substance abuse issues who aren’t in the court system. And drug dealers — the people who get average citizens hooked on these dangerous substances — are just as dangerous as the users. Perhaps even more so.

Fortunately, there are those people who do want to break the drug habit. The Day Report Center is one alternative to serving prison time in Marion County. The center offers counseling and classes for those in the court system who have an addiction problem.

 But sometimes, perhaps even often, individuals complete these courses and fall back under the despair of drugs.

Sadly enough, the drug habit is extremely difficult to break.

Many people are arrested for delivering such things as crack cocaine, hydrocodone, powder cocaine, heroin, bath salts, Percocet and numerous others. Many times the crime is listed as delivery of a “controlled substance.” How many methamphetamine labs have you read about? No doubt more than you care to remember.

Think of all the “drug deals gone bad” that have made the news with one or more people winding up dead. There were four killed last summer in a neighboring county for just this reason.

Yes, Marion County, as do most other counties in West Virginia, does have a “Big Drug Problem.”

And it would appear that unless there’s more help for the drug task forces, as well as additional financial aid, this will not be a problem we will rid ourselves of sooner rather than later.

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