Floyd Newberry Jr Donna F Lang Gene Warren Dwight L Fulton Virginia A O’Neil Anne L Durbin-Thomas Marietta Dunn Charles L Latchford Broncos win ‘Battle of 32’ Lady Broncos claim win over Bethel-Tate Jays top Warriors, fall to Mustangs Lady Warriors claim top spot in SHAC with win over Lynchburg-Clay Broncos buck the Lions, 54-51 James N DeHaas Questions still linger in Stuart explosion New direction for Brittany Stykes case New public safety director now on duty in Brown Co. Fayetteville Mayor anticipates a good year for the village Chamber of Commerce announces awardees Robert Bechdolt Carl E Lindsey Audrey F Maher LeJeune Howser Tammy L Connor Henry C Mayhall Jr Chad Spilker Frank W Kemmeter Jr Wanda J Howard Dorothy Huff Colon C Malott Eastern varsity teams come out on top to capture Brown County Holiday Classic crowns WBHS Army JROTC hosts rifle shooting competition Bronco varsity wrestling team unbeaten at 8-0 Blue Jays finish 1-1 in Ripley Pepsi Classic Mona G Van Vooren Hiram Beardsworth Avery W McCleese Ethel E Long Children learn safety from ‘Officer Phil’ Microchips can help locate lost pets Local GOP plans trip to Washington Three sentenced in common pleas Estel Earhart Roy Stewart Tenacious ‘D’ leads Lady Jays to victory over Blanchester on day one of Ripley Pepsi Classic Fayetteville’s Thompson, Jester earn SWOFCA All-City honors Jays fall to Blanchester on first day of Pepsi Classic Ticket details announced for OHSAA basketball and wrestling state tournaments Jerri K McKenzie Randy D Vaughn Georgetown JR/SR high to have new library Georgetown saw many improvements in 2016 Three sentenced in common pleas court Esther O Brown G-Men go on scoring rampage for 77-41 win over Cardinals Warriors climb to 4-2 with wins over West Union, Lynchburg Rockets top Whiteoak for first win Shirley M Bray Carter Lumber closes in G’town Wenstrup looks forward to 2017 Seven indicted by county grand jury John Ruthven holds pre-Christmas Open House New pet boarding facility now open in Georgetown Denver W Emmons Carl W Liebig Mary L McKinley Blake C Roush Louis A Koewler William D Cornetet Western Brown dedicates Perry Ogden Court Lady Warrior win streak hits 5 Lady Rockets wrap up tough week on the hardwood Barons rally for win over Broncos Georgetown to hire two paid Firefighter/EMT’s Noble receives statewide law enforcement award County helps family in need after house fire Flashing signs banned in G’town historic district ‘Christmas Extravaganza’ at Gaslight Thelma L Ernst Roy L Bruce Ken Leimberger Cathye J Bunthoff Lending a holiday helping hand G’Town Christmas Parade enjoyed by spectators Mt. Orab Auto Mall collects over 1,100 canned goods for local families “Celebration of Lights” held at fairgrounds Thirteen indicted by grand jury Lady Warriors hit the hardwood with high expectations Warriors reload after graduating four starters Six seniors hit the hardwood for Rockets Lady Rockets packed with size, talent Lady G-Men to rely heavily on young talent G-Men seek improvement after last year’s three-win season Skilled crew on the return for the Blue Jays Broncos begin quest for SBAAC American Div. crown Lady Broncos working hard toward SBAAC American Div. title after finishing as league runner-up last season Experienced crew of Lady Jays return to the hardwood Stephen C Foster Mary J Fitzgerald Tyler Hesler

Treat drug epidemic like a public health crisis, not a criminal witch-hunt

I’m not much of a column writer, but when something piques my interests I like to sound off on a topic, so here it goes. Love him or hate him the President of the United States issued his final State of Union Address this past week. I found the most interesting part to be that he called for help in solving the heroin and prescription pain killer epidemic. Rarely does a President mention something people often try to sweep under the rug as part of their speech to address the entire nation. I think it’s time that we as a country start treating heroin and pain killer abuse as a public health crisis and get the problem under control.

The last major public health crisis that comes to mind for me was in the 1980s when HIV/AIDS swept through the nation. Initially those who contracted the disease were treated poorly, called derogatory names, and treated as if they were the victim of their own action and not face it as a public health issue. Then it all changed when the virus spread to people not associated with the derogatory name and into communities where it had not been a problem before and we did something about it. We treated it like a public health crisis and have helped curb the spread of HIV/AIDS and helped those who live with the disease live longer, normal lives. Three pills a day is all it takes now to help someone with HIV/AIDS live a normal life. I think it’s fine time to do the same for those who struggle with addiction.

Looking at this county alone, I would venture to say 80 to 90 percent of all crimes are a result directly or indirectly from drug use. People end up behind bars for possession of substances, possession needles, having chemicals to manufacture meth or everything in between. Then we have another large population of those behind bars who are in jail for property crimes and theft. Each and every week I read through the indictments from the Grand Jury and get sick to my stomach at the number of people with multiple thefts and burglaries followed by a final count of an indictment that includes trafficking in heroin or possession of chemicals for assembly/manufacturing of drugs.

I don’t think the answer is to lock non-violent people in cages with violent criminals and hope they come out ‘cured’ of their drug use. That seems a bit ridiculous. Jails are overcrowded with petty drug criminals and it leaves little to no room for violent offenders. I am a firm believer that no one starts using drugs because they say to themselves, “Hey, I’d like to shoot some heroin.” Drugs are an effect, not a cause. I think expanding care for mental health and wellness is a start. I think ending the stigma attached with mental health and wellness is a better start than even expanding the care.

We have a public health crisis, not a drug problem. Until we as a group of people address it like one, we will continue to pour money into fighting something not worth fighting. It doesn’t matter how many users, abusers, and traffickers we take off the streets because a new person with the same or better product is ready to step in and take their spot.

Let us start fighting the problem at the core through health and wellness and not through county jails and prisons.

Brian Durham
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_DSC_90421.jpgBrian Durham

By Brian Durham

bdurham@civitasmedia.com

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2016 News Democrat