Inmate housing options narrow Opiate addiction strains Municipal Court Lillian E Cowdrey Catherine A Houk Warriors win Jim Neu XC Invite Week 2 football roundup Broncos unbeaten at 4-0 Lady Broncos compete in Bob Schul XC Invite Ronnie L Day Nettie F Lightner Wallace sentenced to life in prison Court filing links Anderson and Sawyers Man killed in Fatal Crash on US 52 Henry E Fields Anleah W Stamper Maxine M Garrett U.S. 68 reopens Drought ends for Lady Rockets G-Men rise to 3-1 with back-to-back victories Rockets cruise to 4-0 win over Jays Lady Broncos start off SBAAC American Division play with 3-2 win over Goshen Week one football roundup Fair board president Orville Whalen passes away Wallace guilty, faces life in prison Zoning ordinance approved for Village of Sardinia Felicity man killed in boat crash Evelyn E Smith Peggy A Wiederhold Thomas P Neary Warriors kick off SHAC play Lady Broncos stand at 2-1 Late Devil goals lead to Lady Warrior loss David R Carrington Sr Crum arraigned on murder charge Sawyers faces new charge Aberdeen’s fiscal officer resigns 12th Annual Golf Tournament by Veterans Home Aug. 26 Betty G Schatzman Robert L McAfee Paul V Tolle Herbert D Smith Helen R Little Eugene M Press Lady Broncos out to defend league title SHAC holds volleyball preview Lady Warriors packed with experience, talent for 2017 fall soccer campaign Georgetown’s Sininger off to excellent start for 2017 golf season New response team for overdoses Drugged driving becoming a bigger problem Danny F Dickson Eva J Smith Michael R Stewart Sr Charles McRoberts III Marsha B Thigpen Michael L Chinn William A Coyne Jr Woman found dead in Ripley A girl’s life on the gridiron Rockets face G-Men in preseason scrimmage 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk draws a crowd William C Latham Four charged in overdose death Underage felonies strain county system Fayetteville looks forward to 2018 celebration Russellville council discusses underground tanks in village Marilyn A Wren Larry E Carter Virginia L McQuitty Practices get underway for fall sports Jays soon to begin quest for SHAC title Western Brown to hold Meet the Teams Night and OHSAA parent meeting Aug. 8 Norville F Hardyman Carol J Tracy James Witt Hundreds of Narcan doses used in 2016 Heavy weekend rain causes flooding and damaged roads Child Focus hosts Chamber of Commerce meeting Mary F McElroy Broncos out to defend SBAAC American Division soccer title Bronco 5K to take place Aug. 5 EHS volleyball team ready for new season Michael C Cooper Raymond Mays Harry E Smittle Jr Mary A Flaugher Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5

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