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It’s time to inoculate our community

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Dewayne HollowayEpidemic. That was the word used recently in a conversation I had with our Sheriff, David White.
The conversation revolved around our local problem with drugs. He stated that “drugs are like an epidemic” while discussing the way the problem has grown in the last two or three years.
I know that in the past this word has been overused to describe problems that pop up and this is not the first time it has been used in a discussion about drugs. But as I listened to Sheriff White talk about the exponential growth of drug use in our county I couldn’t help but agree with him.
He explained that the local drug problem used to be mostly that, a local problem. Users for the most part made their own methamphetamine, or grew their own marijuana. It was easier to contain because if you busted somebody then you pretty much took care of their source too.
Another side of it is the quality of the meth. According to the sheriff, in the past a user was lucky to have a product that was 30 to 40 percent pure. It got you high, but it didn’t get you hooked as fast, or cause you to use as often.
He added that in the past an officer was lucky to confiscate a plastic baggy with a little residue, or a loaded needle. People didn’t seem to carry more than they were going to use.
When you hear him talk about the problem now it is easy to see why he calls it an epidemic.
When we think of a medical epidemic our minds wander to little microbes invading our body, wanting nothing more than to destroy our body.
The current drug problem is similar in that most of the drugs are now coming from outside our borders.
One of the biggest threats to the community according to Sheriff White is methamphetamine from Mexico. He said that the meth he is seeing from south of the border is highly addictive due to its purity.
The meth he and his officers are confiscating now can be as much as 90 percent pure. One hit is all it takes to get someone hooked. The purity of the drug also drives a person to use more often with most users getting high on a daily basis now.
Officers are busting people with several grams of methamphetamine now as they are either selling to promote their habit, or they are just using that much themselves.
Yes it is an epidemic. Our community faces a problem that originates outside our borders, while we find ourselves dieing from the inside. Drugs eat away at our most precious resource. The person you stand next to at Bob’s Food City, or sit next to in class could be the next victim of this disease.
Just like a disease, drugs are indiscriminate. They attack whoever they come in contact with.
It is time to stop this problem. The only way we are going to eradicate this chemical disease is to inoculate our populace so they don’t fall victim to it.
Now I could fill up the newspaper with ways we can do this, but today I will talk about awareness.
This in not a problem we can ignore. Last week we started a drug awareness campaign in the Montgomery County News.
You may have noticed a second editorial cartoon by our resident cartoonist Rich Gibbs last week. If you didn’t, you can find the cartoon adorning walls and bulletin boards around town.
Rich was approached by a local citizen who has a desire to help battle this epidemic through visual images. They hope the cartoons will draw attention to the problem and possibly educate us on what the drug problem in our area really looks like.
Over the course of the next several weeks we will share more of Rich’s cartoons. Some of the images may shock you, but we hope they will make you think. I hope they will also make you get up off your behinds and get to know your neighbors.
The only way we can fix this problem is to change the way people look at drugs and respond to them. It is up to us to heal our community of this blight upon our society.
I hope you are as tired of this problem as I am.

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